Will we see serious evolutionary changes in people in our lifetimes?
The human species continues to evolve. And even in our lifetimes we are seeing significant physical changes in the bodies of each new generation of people. This has been reported by researchers from Flinders University in Australia.
The researchers have found stunning evidence that human evolution is actually speeding up. They have not only found new arteries in younger generations which never existed in the human body before, but also there are babies now being born without any wisdom teeth.
Their finding were published in the Journal of Anatomy.
Did you ever need to have your wisdom teeth removed? Well it’s not fun and is followed by days of pain in the mouth. These are teeth that never grow in and are not deeded.
Along with the appendix, wisdom teeth are one of those evolutionary quirks that may have once had a purpose, but no longer do. So what’s next? Will there be people with no appendix either?
Then there is the median artery which is found in babies and fetuses during their biological development. It is the main vessel that supplies blood to the human forearm and hand.
But in youth other arteries take over and the median artery disappears. Well the researchers found that in recent generations the artery has remained.
They also found that babies are being born with smaller jaws and extra bones in their feet. The smaller jaws may be because now that we are civilized, cook our food and are not wild gatherers any more than we do not need such a large or powerful jaw as predators like tigers and bears have.
Who knows what the extra bones are for? Maybe they will make it easier to exist in the zero gravity in space. Or maybe it will make people slower because we no longer need to run away from hungry tigers and lions all the time.
Dr Teghan Lucas says, “Since the 18th century, anatomists have been studying the prevalence of this artery in adults and our study shows it’s clearly increasing. The prevalence was around 10% in people born in the mid-1880s compared to 30% in those born in the late 20th century, so that’s a significant increase in a fairly short period of time, when it comes to evolution.”
“This increase could have resulted from mutations of genes involved in median artery development or health problems in mothers during pregnancy, or both actually. If this trend continues, a majority of people will have median artery of the forearm by 2100.”
Senior author Professor Maciej Henneberg says, “This is micro evolution in modern humans and the median artery is a perfect example of how we’re still evolving because people born more recently have a higher prevalence of this artery when compared to humans from previous generations.”
“We’ve collected all the data published in anatomical literature and continued to dissect cadavers donated for studies in Adelaide and we found about one third of Australians have the median artery in their forearm and everyone will have it by the end of the century if this process continues.”
But before you get too excited, remember these changes are only coming in newborns. So don’t expect to grow a third kidney or a spare liver or anything like that.
And if you are thinking about science fiction, don’t fear: these are not mutants with super human powers. No one with telekinetic powers is going to take over the world any time soon.