From boosting baby’s brain development to supporting a healthy immune system, breast milk is capable of some pretty powerful stuff. But what if we told you it was responsible for keeping the human species from extinction? New research presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests breast milk helped our ancestors survive some incredibly adverse conditions.
Specifically, researchers are looking at a gene mutation called EDAR that is still detectable in ancient teeth, manifesting itself as shovel-shaped incisors (your top and bottom front four teeth). This gene, found predominantly in Native Americans and Asians, is also linked to thicker hair shafts and more sweat glands, and most recently, enhanced development in the milk ducts of women’s breasts.
The new study says a variant of the gene, called V370A, was likely carried by a group…
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