Human body as a museum of evolution: What would we find if look deeper?

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

It is believed that man is the crown of the evolution, and his body architecture is designed by the creator. But is this really so?
09:31, 18 May 2020

Evolutionary bugs of human body
112 Agency

It is believed that man is the crown of the evolution, and his body architecture is designed by the creator. But is this really so? After all, scientists and researchers find in this "ideal" designer a bunch of bugs that affect our lives, moreover, worsen its conditions. Why is bipedalism more a disadvantage than a virtue? Can traces of evolution be found in oneself and how does the body continue to transform under our realities?

The first fish appeared 500 million years ago, reptiles - 300 million years ago, and mammals - 220 million years ago. These organisms have come a long way, on which they have gone through a bunch of changes and, it would seem, should have become an ideal version of themselves. However, this is not the case. One has only to recall the underdeveloped 5-centimeter wings of kiwi and the shocking feature of the formation of flounder individuals: at birth, they are similar to ordinary fish (swim vertically, and the eyes are located on both sides of the body), but subsequently, one eye begins to move upwards (along with the skull, which also changes form), getting to the second. Thus, we "get" the usual for people flounder with two eyes on one side. This movement is the reason why the fish can move, leaning on the side that was left without an eye.

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Today it is clear that these organisms could have been designed differently, but evolution is not an exact science, it often leaves traces. And if many other species during the long-term evolution remained with certain shortcomings, then why do many people think that a person whose mind is only about 4 million years old is an ideal creation?

Design bugs of the human body and their consequences

The human eye. In one of his articles, biologist Matan Shelomi notes that human eyelids look pathetic in comparison with most other animals. The fact is that animals, in addition to the usual set of eyelids, have one more, transparent - “nickel membrane” (which protects from dust and water).

Problem. If the human eye were just as shaped like that of animals, we could get rid of a number of problems, such as dry eyes.

And if we tell you that even with 100 percent vision in good weather and with a fresh mind, you will not be able to see all the beauty of nature in front of you? Yes, our eyes can see in 3D, perceiving the depth of the object, but the field of view of a person is limited. And this is not about the ability to see what is happening behind, like a dove (cannot see in 3D but sees almost its entire body), we are talking about the “blind spot” that each of us has.

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In order to detect it, close the right eye and with your left eye look at the right cross, which is circled. Keep your face and monitor upright. Without taking your eyes off the right cross, bring your face closer (or away) from the monitor and at the same time follow the left cross (without looking at it).

At a certain moment (at a specific, individual distance of the face from the monitor), it will disappear. A similar experiment can be done with the right eye.

A “blind spot” is a point on the outside of the retina where nerve fibers, similar to the wires of microphones, converge into the optic nerve and enter the brain through an opening in the retina. In other words, this is a point that we do not see at a certain distance, and our brain undertakes to fill this gap itself. Such a problem is not unique to humans, but not to all animals. In particular, the octopus and squid can see more, and all due to the fact that their photoreceptor cells are turned like “microphones” to the light (the light immediately reaches their destination), in the situation with the humans the light must pass along the entire length of each cell, blood, tissue, and only then it reaches the lens.

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Problem. Due to this construction of the eye, the retina is prone to detachment from the tissues supporting it, which is one of the main causes of blindness.

Reverse laryngeal nerve. One of the most common examples of the imperfection of the evolutionary process is precisely the reverse laryngeal nerve in mammals. It goes from the brain to the heart, describes the loop around the aorta, and returns to the larynx (passes instructions from the brain to the muscles of the vocal apparatus and larynx, helping to speak and swallow). The nerve aroused considerable interest in the scientific community because its path should have been much shorter: instead of making a loop of 90 cm, the nerve could go immediately from the brain to the larynx (several cms).

In order to understand the magnitude of the shortsightedness of evolution, one should pay attention to the reverse laryngeal nerve of a giraffe - the length of the nerve can reach 4 meters (descends from top to bottom along the long neck), although the distance from the brain to the larynx is, again, only a few centimeters. It is interesting that we inherited such an arrangement of nerves and blood vessels from fish.

Problem. Due to the fact that the nerve makes a considerable loop, it becomes vulnerable. In particular, a stroke in the chest might cause difficulties with speech or swallowing (an aortic aneurysm can lead to paralysis of the left vocal cords).

Pharynx anatomy. How many times in your life have you choked on something? Yes, we are talking about those moments when, without taking Heimlich (the first medical help when a foreign body enters the respiratory tract) or other outside help, you were ready to say goodbye to life. Who is to blame? Evolution.

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Our throat helps us perform two important functions: we eat and breathe. The entrances to the trachea (respiratory throat) and esophagus intersect precisely in the pharynx, which extends from the nose and mouth to the larynx. To avoid food entering the trachea, evolution has developed a special organ called the epiglottis, which reflexively closes the laryngeal opening when you swallow. However, this system has its weaknesses: if you talk or laugh while eating, the epiglottis does not have time to close, and, as a result, the food gets into the respiratory tract, which can cause suffocation.

It is worth noting that in the first months of life, infants can swallow and breathe at the same time (the larynx is located above the esophagus), but with age, they lose this ability.

Problem. The double functionality of the throat cost the lives of millions who suffocated, accidentally choking on food.

Spine. The topic of spinal evolution in connection with upright posture is also one of the main evidence that the human body cannot be considered an ideal constructor. It is easy to prove this by asking someone if his / her back hurts. In most cases, the answer will be yes. Why?

Our ancestors walked on all fours, their ridges were like a bridge with four supports. According to paleontologist Bruce Latimer, when a person began to move vertically, the spine evolved. However, in order to keep the body in balance, it bent forward in the lower back. We are forced to hold the head so as to maintain balance by bending the upper spine in the opposite direction (S-shape).

As a result, we have tremendous pressure on the lower vertebrae, due to which about 80 percent of the adult population, as studies show, experience lower back pain.

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Problem. Having the opportunity to move on two legs, a person sacrifices the quality of his health: chronic fatigue, back pain, increased pressure on the internal organs and blood vessels, curvature, hernia. Even with an active lifestyle, the spine subsequently "wears out" from stress.

Most of all go to the lower back, which is forced to experience the pressure of organs located above (sciatica, backache, osteochondrosis).

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Another consequence of upright posture is foot disease (flat feet), which also negatively affects the knees and hips.

The construction of human legs. A large number of scientists believe that today human legs are unreasonably complex (the human leg has 26 bones). The fact is that a large number of movable joints were needed by our ancestral primates in order to move along the branches of trees.

Problem. Since the human foot consists of many bones, ligaments, and tendons that withstand heavy loads daily, we are aware of injuries such as ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, broken ankles, and the like.

Bipedalism also complicates the functioning of the knee joints.

The evolution of the reproductive system. Men. Vulnerabilities of men begin with the process of lowering the male testicles, as a result of which there is a risk of weaknesses in the abdominal wall, which can lead to hernias (testicles form in the abdominal cavity).

We cannot ignore the poorly designed urethra, which performs two functions at once: sperm and urine exit through it. The channel runs in the middle of the prostate gland, which produces part of the sperm. This location cannot be considered successful, because, in the case of inflammation of the gland, the walls of the canal swell, the functions of urine output and the genital are impaired (a significant part of men in adulthood develop prostate adenoma, which compresses the urethra).

It is worth noting that these organs were formed precisely because the prostate in mammals developed from the tissues of the wall of the urethra.

Problem. The versatility of the genitals can cause a number of genital tract infections (if bacteria enter the urethra during intercourse), chlamydia, mycoplasmosis, etc.

The evolution of the reproductive system. Women. The location of the urethra and anus in women relative to the genital organ also increases the risk of infection.

Geneticist Jerry Coyne in his book Why Evolution Is True explains another imperfection of the female reproductive system. This is a small gap between the ovary and the fallopian tube, so the egg must cover this distance before passing through the tube and implant in the uterus. It also happens that a fertilized egg fails to go this way and it attaches in the abdominal cavity. As a result, an ectopic pregnancy occurs, which is almost always fatal for the baby, and without surgery, for the mother. This “legacy” to people came from reptiles and fish (they laid eggs directly from the ovary into the environment). The fallopian tube, according to the researcher, is an imperfect connecting element, because it later developed in mammals as an additional structure.

Another problem that a woman received as a result of evolution is painful childbirth. Indeed, if we compare the average size of the newborn’s head and the size of the female pelvis (by the way, it has not changed over 200,000 years), it turns out that the female genital tract is quite narrow, which increases the risk of injuries.

There is an explanation for this: a person originates from creatures that lay eggs and live births, but they have these processes that are much less painful, because, according to some scientists, our history of evolution began too quickly - people quickly moved to upright posture.

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The biosynthesis of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for humans because it plays an important role in the process of collagen synthesis, which is the basis of muscles, bones, cartilage, blood vessels, skin, and all body tissues. It is known that during evolution, humans (as well as primates, guinea pigs, and some species of bats and birds) lost the ability to independently produce this vitamin, so it enters our body with food (fruits and vegetables).

Problem. An insufficient amount of vitamin C is manifested in reduced mental and physical performance, weakness, lethargy, and a tendency to infectious and respiratory diseases.

What evolution has left the man as a memory of the past?

Since evolution is a gradual process, it is quite understandable that living organisms can distinguish those parts of the body or organs that no longer perform important functions that once existed for existence. The man was no exception.

In particular, scientists include rudiments (an organ that has lost its main purpose in the process of evolution):

Darwin's tubercle, which is located in the upper part of the auricle.

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The change in the functionality of this muscle during evolution is explained by the fact that people began to turn their heads in the direction of sound, not the ear, so the need to move their ears gradually disappeared (the muscle no longer works, but some people can still move their ears with it).

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By the way, these muscles are still used by animals and not only for survival in the wild.

The tailbone is the lower part of the human spine, formed by fused vertebrae.

The tailbone is the remainder of the tail, which helped our ancestors cling to the trees. It is interesting that vertebrae of the coccygeal bone remain mobile in their joints for women and less often for men.

The third eyelid (Plica semilunaris) is located in the inner corner of the human eye.

This translucent membrane (membranous membrane) helps animals protect their eyes from dust (in birds) or helps to see in the water (crocodiles).

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The process of growing wisdom teeth in almost all of us is associated with aching pain and malocclusion.

In the process of evolution, the human brain began to grow, thereby reducing the jaw, while not reducing the number of teeth in the oral cavity. Thus, many simply had to remove their wisdom teeth, because the function of chewing fiber food with them in the face of changing the diet of modern man is completely useless.

Muscle on the wrist (Palmaris longus).

Raise your hand up and connect the little finger and thumb. There is a chance that in the middle there will be a tubercle - a muscle (a certain part of people no longer has it). Once all primates had this muscle, but today only animals that live in forests have it (the muscle helps to stay on tree branches).

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The process of growing wisdom teeth in almost all of us is associated with aching pain and malocclusion.

In the process of evolution, the human brain began to grow, thereby reducing the jaw, while not reducing the number of teeth in the oral cavity. Thus, many simply had to remove their wisdom teeth, because the function of chewing fiber food with them in the face of changing the diet of modern man is completely useless.

A person is at an intermediate stage from today, with all its shortcomings and short-sighted decisions of evolution to the distant future, when overtime an individual will nevertheless appear most adapted to the realities of life.

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By the way, according to British scientists, in particular, the professor of anatomy and anthropology Alice Roberts, the ideal woman of the future should be like this: bat ears (a person would never go deaf), lungs, like birds do, which would saturate the blood with a lot of oxygen, snakeskin, which would protect against ultraviolet rays, a bag similar to a kangaroo bag so that the baby would be born prematurely and “ripen” already there (instead of the usual childbirth, which would make life easier for women), and legs with long tendons.

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And what should be the ideal man of our time? As part of a social campaign, the Australian authorities asked the artist Patricia Piccinini, with the help of a trauma surgeon, a specialist in traffic accidents, to create a model of a person who will be most adapted for an accident (one of the main causes of death on the planet). Graham (the name of the man’s layout) was supposed to show people how powerful a strike can be. Thus, in order to survive, a person must not have a neck, the face should be filled with adipose tissue, and the skull is much thicker than the skull of an ordinary person. The brain should be separated from the skull by a large number of ligaments and fluids that would absorb shock. Between Graham's ribs, there are biological airbags that are triggered by an accident.

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So are we evolving now? Probably not, because most of the new tasks appear earlier than we have time to adapt to them. One way or another, but the process of our transformation will definitely take place. This is already proved by the facts about the absence of wisdom teeth in some people, as well as the presence of an external occipital protrusion in young people and people under 30, which distributes and reduces the load between the muscles (in the era of smartphones this is the best solution that our body can offer).

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