science museum

Royal jaws

Many members of the European royal families in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries inherited the 'Hapsburg lip', a lower jaw and lip that jutted out. Several artists of the time captured this royal family feature. The Hapsburg lip could be passed on to a child even if only one parent had it. So the effect of a gene for a jutting-out jaw masked the gene for a jaw that didn't jut out.

Spanish King Charles V (1550-58) had the characteristic family jaw.
Spanish King Charles V (1550-58) had the characteristic family jaw.
Peter Blegvad

Science Museum Home Page Who am I? Science Museum Home Page