Did you know there are signs of evolution you can find on your body? Evolution is an imperfect process, taking millions of years for biology to adapt and change. However, along with these adaptations, remnants of the past are left behind. Called vestigial structures, these are usually bones, organs, or muscles that no longer provide a functional use for the body. They give scientists and researchers a unique window into how our bodies have evolved. Curious to find out what evidence lies right in front of you? Here are 25 Signs Of Evolution You Can Find On Your Body.
Auricularis Ear Muscles
Around your ears are the Auricularis Ear Muscles that are mostly too weak to use. While the reflex still exists for some, most people can’t utilize their original purpose, which was to move ears back and forth.
The Phrenic Nerve
The Phrenic Nerve controls the contraction of the diaphragm. Similar to fish, it comes out of the brain stem from the base of the skull and goes all the way down the neck and chest cavity to the diaphragm, leaving it exposed and vulnerable. While this works well for fish, it’s a poor setup for mammals, including humans. Subsequently, scientists believe this is a leftover evolutionary trait from fish.
Scientists believe a human’s five toes developed from our ancestor’s requirement of long-distance running to hunt down and kill their prey. However, today, while some of our toes are important for balance, our pinky toes are mostly useless. It’s thought there’s a high probability that humans will eventually evolve out of having a pinky toe altogether.
Palmaris Longus Muscle
Not everyone has a Palmaris Longus Muscle. You can determine if you have one by pinching your thumb and pinky together and flex your wrist up a little. A long muscle will protrude if you have it. While this muscle played a part in gripping and climbing for our primate ancestors, it’s primarily useless for us and doesn’t affect our gripping strength.
Lack of Hair
Humans are the only primate that lacks a coat of hair on their body. Even among mammals, this is a rarity. Scientists have theorized that our lack of hair evolved over 6 million years ago when we started to hunt in the water, moved out into the hot savannah, and could also have been a defense mechanism to reduce parasites, like ticks.