Over the past 200,000 years or so modern humans have been developing and many tiny changes have led to our current form. All of us who are alive today are a product of adaptation, evolution, and natural selection. Even though our ancestors may have looked similar in appearance to us, many physical and anatomical things are different these days. Proof of this can be found in the vestigial structures scattered throughout our bodies.
Vestigial structures are “genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function in a given species, but having been retained during the process of evolution (source: Wikipedia). Essentially, mother nature renders certain things absolute or no longer necessary for the survival of a species going forward. Instead of eliminating it all together, it’s slowly faded out and rendered useless, but still remains intact. Why certain body parts and functions stay, while others get completely eliminated, is largely a mystery of nature. Most of them do not harm us in any way and the ones that do, such as wisdom teeth or an appendix, can be easily dealt with and safely removed.
The best known examples of vestigial structures include the appendix, goosebumps, wisdom teeth, tonsils, male nipples, and the outer ear. These body parts and traits used to serve important, necessary functions to our ancestor’s survival but today they are no longer needed. The accompanying video goes over all of the aforementioned things and more in clear detail so be sure to check it out and learn more about why goosebumps could have come in handy a few hundred thousand years ago.
A neat way to see how you may have evolved is to lay your arm on a flat surface so that the underside and the palm of your hand face up. Touch and press together your pinky finger and thumb and then raise your hand up at the wrist just a little bit, as shown in the video. If there is a raised band in the middle of your wrist, you have a vestigial muscle in your forearm called the palmris longus. The ridge you see is a tendon that connects to it and that muscle is either absent from both arms, or missing from one arm, in an estimated 10-15% of the population. If you’re missing this muscle there’s no need to worry because it’s essentially useless! Studies have shown that it has absolutely no effect at all on a person’s grip or pinch strength.
Check out the video for more neat and interesting facts on how us humans have evolved over time and share this article and information so that more people can be informed.
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