Modern human beings have evolved over our 200,000 plus years on earth. And I’m not talking about finally coming to terms with the fact that your mother will never understand what you do for a living. I’m talking about humans no longer needing a third eyelid, or wisdom teeth, or an appendix for that matter. Sorry dude, we just don’t need you. Our body is filled with all sorts of natural survival mechanisms whether or not we need them today.
I want you to try something. Put your pinky and your thumb together like the picture you see above, and then bend your wrist slightly forward. See the tendon on the left? Do you have that? That is the palmaris longus. It is believed that this tendon helped our ancestors climb and swing from tree to tree, which we no longer need to do today. I mean, you could if you want to. No one is stopping you. 10 to 15 percent of people living today no longer have this particular tendon. Do you? I do! So what other proof of evolution can we find on our very own bodies?
Women spend thousands of dollars throughout their lives getting rid of body hair because we just don’t need it. We have clothes to keep us warm. Before clothes were a thing, body hair would keep people warm and goosebumps would help increase the surface area on the skin to help a person retain more heat. When provoked due to fear, goosebumps would also help hair stand on end making the person or species look larger and scarier. But now that we aren’t just hairy, naked, cave people fighting for our lives, we don’t really need body hair.
You know that weird pink fleshy fold in the corner of your eye? That is what is left of the nictitating membrane. Ours doesn’t really do much anymore, but if you look at other mammals, fish, birds and/or amphibians, you will see that its function was to act like an extra eyelid. Over the years, our bodies have evolved and the membrane has decreased in size. Now it acts as a slight protector from dirt, wind and water.
You know that little bump on the top outside corners of our ears? That is Darwin’s tubercle. It used to be much more prominent. While we still rely heavily on our ears to hear, we really don’t need our hearing as much as other species do. We have so many muscles in our ears that we simply don’t use anymore. Our ancestors used these muscles to turn their ears to help listen for the sounds of predators and prey. Some people are still able to use these muscles and will show off by wiggling their ears.
If you touch a newborn baby’s palm, they will grab you tightly. If you rub the back of their hand they will loosen the grip. This is known as the palmar grasp reflex, which originated from our ancestors. When they traveled through the trees, they needed their young ones to hang onto their body hair and grip tight. They also used their feet to grab things more than we do. Although I tend to do that due to pure laziness.
We all have to get our wisdom teeth removed, so why do we even have them? Well, before eating vegan and gluten free, our ancestors had a diet that was coarse and rough that included roots, nuts and meats and they needed the extra teeth for more chewing power. Nowadays, 35 percent of the population does not even develop their third and fourth set of molars.
The coccyx is made up of 3 to 5 vertebrae that are either separate or fused together. You may know it as the tailbone because our ancestors literally had tails. Now we have just a little nub left at the very end of our vertebral column. As fetuses, we start to develop a tail but then a few weeks after, it dies. Some babies are still born with actual tails that have to be removed.
While it is found right smack in the middle of the small and large intestine, the appendix does not do a damn thing when it comes to digestion. Experts believe that it may have had a purpose when humans ate mostly and only plants. Now, it is just a nuisance and can be easily infected and inflamed, causing appendicitis.
There are so many more questions you can ask about the human body and our evolution, like: Why do men have nipples? Why do women have hair under their arms? Also, why can’t I have a tail? I think a tail would look really good on me.