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  • Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm

  • Rob.

  • 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 tediousthat

  • means boringso I don't really take any notice, as you can see! But there’s one

  • part of our body you don’t hear much aboutand 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.

  • Youve 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

  • optimistic.

  • 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 ancestorsthat’s the people related to us from a long time

  • agothey 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 prominentthat 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 theyve 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 importantbut our conversation about chins

  • is very important!

  • I guess so Neil, OKso 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

  • done!

  • 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 weve heard

  • today. Neil.

  • tedious

  • chin up

  • far-fetched

  • projection

  • jaw

  • ancestors

  • prominent

  • chinless wonder

  • plausible

  • double chin

  • chinwag

  • Thanks Neil.

  • Please join us again soon. Bye bye.

  • Goodbye.

Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm

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B1 INT UK chin rob jaw plausible projection dr

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

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    LE!   posted on 2017/04/01
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