It’s no secret that the human body has evolved over time. Take a stroll down any self-respecting museum and you’ll find a section dedicated to human history, complete with some form of representation of our hairier, ape-like ancestors – better known as cavemen.
Living things evolve over time to better adapt to their environment. It’s what Darwin’s finches were all about. That means that us humans will continue to evolve to thrive in our modern world, and, as a result, some of our body parts will inevitably disappear in the future.
Here are 14 body parts that our descendants are unlikely to possess…
1. Body hair
While some forms of body hair serve a purpose (our eyelashes and eyebrows, for example, protect our eyes), most of the hair that we have elsewhere is now obsolete. Thanks to clothes, we don’t need any hair on our bodies to help keep us warm.
2. Extrinsic ear muscles
A lot of animals can move their ears – like rabbits and dogs. Well, us humans are built to be able to do it too. That’s why we’ve got extrinsic ear muscles, but since there’s no need for us to actually move our ears, evolution will eventually take these muscles away.
3. Male nipples
When we are just fetuses in our mother’s womb, we are genderless until we are seven weeks old. That’s why men have nipples. However, given that men are unable to produce milk, they serve no purpose, so it’s only a matter of time before Mother Nature takes them away.
A little-known fact about human evolution is that, just like monkeys, we used to have tails. In fact, when we are still in the womb, we still do, but they eventually form into what’s known as our tailbone. We lost our tails when we began to walk upright.
4. Palmaris muscle
This is something which evolution has already started to remove. As it stands, around 11% of people are missing a palmaris muscle, which was once used when we had to climb and hang from things. For some people, that could explain why they struggled on jungle gyms as kids!
Most of us have heard of people suffering from appendicitis, but the appendix itself is obsolete. So much so that we don’t actually know what its purpose is. It’s believed that when we had predominately vegetarian diets, it helped us to digest cellulose.
6. Thirteenth rib
One of the differences between us and chimpanzees and gorillas is that these other primates have an extra set of ribs. Sometimes known as the neck rib, a small number of humans still have one. It’s estimated that 12 to eight percent of adults possess one, but this number will decrease to zero in time.
With all this talk of losing body parts, you’ll be glad to hear that the more useful something is, the bigger it can get. Skeletons of early humans have revealed that our brains have tripled in size over the course of humanity’s history.
In days gone by, we used to rely on our toes a lot to balance. However, over time, we’ve begun to balance more towards the side of our big toe. So you might want to enjoy your pedicures a little more – they’re something your ancestors might not get to experience.
8. Third eyelid
Also known as the nictitating membrane, a third eyelid is present in other animals like birds. It enables them to keep their eyes open at all times while hunting, however, humans have lost theirs over time, retaining only the fold of skin in the corner of their eye.
9. Arrector pili muscles
We all know what it’s like to experience goosebumps. These are caused by arrector pili muscles. In mammals, they come into action when they need to puff up their body hair to protect themselves from danger or when they’re cold, but as we are almost hairless, they’re now obsolete.
Evolution has also given us features which our ancestors didn’t possess. Until 10,000-7,000 years ago, blue eyes didn’t exist. But then a genetic mutation happened and they came into existence. Now just 8% of the population have them.
10. Darwin’s points
Just 10.4% of the people have what’s known as Darwin’s points. These are a small folded piece of skin on the inner ear which once helped humans to focus on distant sounds. Now that we are no longer hunter-gatherers, or in danger from larger predators, they serve no purpose.
Remember I mentioned the tailbone? Well, needless to say, it’s also pretty much obsolete. It’s a small triangular shaped bone which, although not serving its original purpose as a tail, now acts a point for a number of muscles together, but, generally speaking, it’s useless.
12. Wisdom teeth
Most of us know at least one person who has had to have their wisdom teeth removed. Once used when us humans had predominately plant-based diets, these teeth serve little purpose in the modern world. It’s estimated that only around 7% of people still have them.
The scientific name for us humans is homo sapiens, but what few people know is that there were actually a number of human species in the past – some of whom lived at the same time as each other. However, homo sapiens were the only ones to survive.
Check out this video below where it’s theorized that evolution will lead to just ONE ethnic group on the planet!
13. Paranasal sinuses
The paranasal sinuses consist of sour air-filled spaces in the nasal cavity which have a number of functions including lightening the weight of the head, but, aside from making us feel lightheaded when necessary, they have no real purpose.
14. Subclavius muscle
Now that we no longer walk on all fours, the subclavius muscle is obsolete. As a result, Mother Nature has begun the process of removing them from the human form – some people still have two subclavius muscles, others have two and some have none.
As the world continues to change, so will us humans. In the last two centuries alone, we have almost doubled in height. Mother Nature has an incredible way of helping us to adapt to our surroundings, although it’s still strange to think that one day we could lose our toes!