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Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm
And I'm Neil. Hello.
Hi there, Neil. Hardly a day goes by without
hearing someone talking about some aspect of our bodies. Do you know what I mean, Neil?
Oh, yes, Rob. Almost every part of our anatomy
seems to be the subject of endless debate. It could be our stomachs and what we eat.
It could be our posture and how we stand. It could be our skin and how we should look
after it.
Yes, I know, it gets very tedious – that
means boring – so I don't really take any notice, as you can see! But there’s one
part of our body you don’t hear much about – and that is the chin.
The chin? You mean the small bit of bone under
the mouth? It’s not the most interesting part, is it Rob? I mean, it doesn’t do anything,
does it? I must admit I’ve never even thought about it. What’s it for, anyway?
Well, some people think it’s very useful
for folding up large sheets and towels. You know, you hold one end under your chin like
that with it…
Come on, Rob, you're not being serious!
Of course not. But seriously, the more you
think about it, the more interesting the chin becomes.
You’ve still got to convince me, Rob. A
chin is just a chin. That’s all there is to it.
Not so fast, Neil. The chin may turn out to
be a more important part of the body than you think. But before we get into that, let’s
turn to the quiz. Chin up, Neil.
A good phrase - it means stay positive and
OK well how optimistic are you about getting
this question right? How long ago do you think humans developed chins? Was it...
a) 150,000 years ago?
b) 2 million years ago? or
c) 5 million years ago?
Hmm. I have no idea. They all sound far-fetched
to me. Far-fetched means something is difficult to believe. But I think I’ll go for 2 million
years ago.
'B'. Okay. Well, we'll find out if you're
right or wrong later on. But the first thing to say is that humans are the only animals
to have developed a chin. Let’s listen to Dr James Pampush from the University of Florida.
What word does he use to mean it sticks out?
Dr James Pampush from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida
Humans are the only animal that have a chin and by that I mean, you have this bony projection
underneath your teeth that sticks out past your teeth on the lower portion of your jaw
and it’s such an unusual feature, that in a way it sort of helps define what it means
to be human.
So he used the word projection which means
something that sticks out from the main surface.
And the word jaw is used to describe the lower
part of the face, which the chin is part of. So, we now know exactly what the chin is.
But why did it develop?
Now from what I understand, Rob, it has a
lot to do with when humans started to cook their food, so the food they ate became much
softer. Therefore, our ancestors – that’s the people related to us from a long time
ago – they didn’t need powerful jaws or sharp teeth anymore. And, strangely, that
made the jaw drop and produced that odd piece of bone we know as the chin.
But some time later the chin became associated
with sexual attraction in men. Males with prominent – that means easy to see - jaws
were supposed to be attractive to women. And men with small chins were thought to be unattractive
or weak people. They were even called chinless wonders sometimes.
Chinless wonder, an interesting phrase! So,
let’s have a look at yours, Rob. Are you a chinless wonder? Mmm. Looks pretty normal
to me. How about mine?
Well, Neil, your chin is rather pointed if
you don’t mind me saying. But I’m not sure what that means, to be honest. So, let’s
move swiftly on. Let's hear what Dr Pampush has to say about this. He uses a word that
means this theory is likely to be true.
Dr James Pampush from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida
It seems plausible to me that chins emerged as some kind of feature and then later were
selected to be sex ornaments. But not the presence of the chin but, rather, the shape
of the chin being some kind of marker for sexual identity.
The word he used was plausible meaning something
that is acceptable or believable.
The word chin has also given us some interesting
expressions. A double chin, for example, describes loose skin hanging beneath the chin which
makes people look like they’ve got two chins! It’s something that people don’t like
and often try to get rid of.
And then there’s the verb to chinwag. That
means to talk a lot or to chat in a relaxed way with friends. A chinwag tends to be a
conversation about things that aren't very important – but our conversation about chins
is very important!
I guess so Neil, OK – so how about the answer
to that question I asked you earlier? I asked you how long ago did humans develop chins?
Was it a) 150,000 years ago? b) 2 million years ago or c) 5 million years ago?
And I said 2 million years ago.
You know your chins, you were right. Well
Ah brilliant!
Chins really have been around for a long time.
Now, before we go, it’s time to remind ourselves of some of the vocabulary that we’ve heard
today. Neil.
chin up
chinless wonder
double chin
Thanks Neil.
Please join us again soon. Bye bye.


6 Minute Learning English From BBC - What's the point of having a chin?

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LE! 2017 年 4 月 2 日 に公開
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