Heng Sinith / AP

Eating softer foods likely changed the shape of the human skull in small but functional ways as modern humans around the world began farming rather than foraging food, a new study finds. Previous studies indicated that the human skull changed somewhat as softer foods from agriculture altered the way people chew food but it was unclear just how prevalent the changes were.

An examination of 559 skulls and 534 mandibles from more than two dozen pre-industrial populations found modest changes — a reduction in jaw size and muscles associated with chewing — as humans adopted farming practices. .

Why it happened: As modern humans began farming, two agricultural staples – cereals made from grains and dairy from domesticated animals – became primary sources of food, the researchers said. Eating both meant people had to chew their food less. The largest changes in skull morphology occurred in populations eating dairy, indicating that consuming the softest foods had the greatest impact. The effects were seen in skulls from around the world, indicating the changes likely occurred on a global scale as humans evolved

One interesting side note: The changes attributed to diet are smaller in comparison to other factors that determine skull size (like female versus male, or environmental factors that limit diet in different parts of the world).

Go deeper

The U.S. is now playing by China's internet rules

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's crackdown on TikTok suggests that the U.S. government is starting to see the internet more like China does — as a network that countries can and should control within their borders.

The big picture: Today's global internet has split into three zones, according to many observers: The EU's privacy-focused network; China's government-dominated network; and the U.S.-led network dominated by a handful of American companies. TikTok's fate suggests China's model has U.S. fans as well.

GOP plans "nightly surprise" for revamped convention

President Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images

The reworked Republican National Convention will be a four-night spectacle including still-under-wraps venues, a 10 p.m. "nightly surprise" and guests and themes playing to "the forgotten men and women of America," two senior Trump campaign officials involved tell Axios.

Driving the news: The messaging will focus heavily on "very granular details" of what a second term for President Trump would look like — answering a question Trump left hanging in a Fox News event earlier this summer — and attack cancel culture, "radical elements" of society and threats to public safety.

47 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.