Most people learn about the phenomena of evolution in their middle school and high school science classes, but researchers have recently discovered evidence of “microevolution” with noticeable differences between generations of human beings.
According to September’s Journal of Anatomy, via Sky News, more babies are being born without wisdom teeth, with an extra artery in their arm, or with smaller jaws and shorter faces as a result of microevolution.
“A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving. But our study shows we are still evolving – faster than at any point in the past 250 years,” Dr. Teghan Lucas of Flinders University said.
The reasoning behind fewer teeth in human mouths can be attributed to human faces getting shorter and mouths getting smaller, leaving less room for teeth to develop. Natural selection and humans’ increased ability to chew food has resulted in fewer humans developing wisdom teeth.
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An additional artery in the human arm goes as far back as the 19th century. The “median artery” previously used to form in babies during pregnancy, and would normally disappear after birth while radial and ulna arteries had grown.
One in three people now keep their median artery for their entire life. Thankfully, this poses no known health issues and actually increases blood flow to the hands.
“The median artery is a perfect example of how we are still evolving because people born more recently have a higher prevalence of this artery when compared to humans from previous generations,” author Professor Maciej Henneberg said.
Researchers determined their findings by both tracking how many subjects retained different body parts throughout the generations, as well as dissecting preserved corpses of people born throughout the 20th century.
The study also predicts that people born 80 years from now (so 2100) will all possess a median artery if the trend continues. For more historical discoveries, check out the theory on why Megalodons were so massive (hint: it’s because of cannibalism in the womb).
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN, and his jaw is clenched.