08
Oct
09

Twelve Evolutionary Leftovers Man Can Do Without

Read this, all those who believe that evolution makes no mistakes that it doesn’t fix. We have lots of bits and pieces of tried-and-failed experiments that haven’t yet worked their way out of our human genome. This, above all, is probably why DNA computers are still just a gleam in a computer scientist’s eye: DNA makes lots of mistakes.

    • Appendix

      We all know about this one. You might even know someone who has had it removed. The appendix is a narrow, muscular tube attached to the large intestine. A common misconception is that this organ was used for digesting raw meat. It was actually used in our plant chewing days. It would aid in the digestion of cellulose. As the human diet changed, this organ stopped functioning, as it was no longer used. To be noted though, the appendix is rich with infection-fighting lymphoid cells, which leads some to think it still plays a role in our immune system. If the appendix did have this function, one would tend to believe that its routine removal would cause ill side effects.

    • Coccyx (AKA: The Tail Bone)

      The coccyx is a set of fused vertebrae at the bottom of the spinal column. This is another useless remain of our ancestral past. It’s all that’s left of our tails, which disappeared from hominids before they began walking upright. The coccyx does serve as somewhat of a shock absorber, though that was not it’s original function.It is true that the coccyx has nine muscles attached to it, such as the muscle that is “necessary” for defecation. It should be noted that the coccyx, if surgically removed, does not cause any apparent health issues.

    • Extrinsic Ear Muscles

      These three muscles most likely made it possible for prehominids to move their ears independently of their heads (again, like a cat or dog). We still have these muscles which is why most people can learn how to wiggle their ears.

    • Toes

      While losing ones toes would cause problems with walking for awhile, we technically only need our big toe as a function to help keep our balance. Our toes were most likey used at one point for grasping on to things and climbing.

    • Neck Rib

      This is a set of cervical ribs commonly thought to be leftovers from the age of reptiles. They still appear in less than 1% (about 1 in 200) of humans, and in rarer cases a person may not just have one but have two neck ribs. Unfortunately, these can cause nerve and artery problems.

    • Darwin's PointDarwin’s Point

      Take your finger and run it along the the inner edge of your ear. Near the top you’ll notice a small piece of skin that is almost like a point. If you can’t find it, don’t worry not all humans still carry this. They believe that this may be a remain of a larger shape that helped us focus on distant sounds.

    • Third Eyelid

      Somewhere along the evolutionary journey we actually had a third eye lid, much like you see on a frogs, for example. Humans retain a tiny fold in the inner corner of the eye.

    • Male Nipplesnipple

      Lactiferous ducts (the lobes of the mammary gland at the tip of the nipple) form well before the the testosterone is released that causes a fetus to be a male. Also, men have mammary tissue that can be stimulated to produce milk.

    • Wisdom Teeth

      If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had your wisdom teeth removed. I had all four of mine pulled when I was in high school. Despite what you think, these teeth weren’t totally useless. Since early humans had to chew a lot of plants (to intake the amount of calories needed to survive) the more teeth the better. Another theory regarding wisdom teeth is that they were replacement teeth that were lost from wear and tear.

    • Body Hair

      Most of your body hair serves no function (though some think otherwise). Eyebrows keep sweat from going into your eyes, and male facial hair may play a role in sexual selection. Armpit and pubic hair help deal with moisture but beyond that it does us no good. Your arm and leg hair are just the remains of a once fully covered body of hair.

    • Junk DNA

We have a whole load of DNA that seems to serve no actual purpose. Well OK it may serve a purpose but at present it seems that it’s leftover DNA

that we no longer need but still hangs around. The scientific jury is still out on this one.

    • Thirteenth Rib

      While our closest cousins (chimps and gorillas) still retain this extra set of ribs, most humans have 12 ribs. Additionally, about 8% of humans are born with extra ribs.

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