Friday Fun: The 5 Strangest Things Evolution Left in Your Body

Sep 10 2010 Published by under friday fun

It's nice to see the occasional Cracked post that is definitely SFW and funny enough to be worth highlighting here.

And The 5 Strangest Things Evolution Left in Your Body definitely qualifies on both counts.

If you don't believe in evolution, you have to spend a lot of time wondering about the useless shit the creator threw into our bodies. Why don't our wisdom teeth fit in our heads? Why do we need an appendix?

The answer is that evolution is a sloppy and haphazard process. Take a close look at your body and you'll see some of the leftover junk. Like...

In descending order:

  • Goosebumps
  • Flinching When You Hear High-Pitched Sounds
  • A Third Eyelid
  • Auriculares Muscles (aka the Reason Some People Can Wiggle Their Ears)
  • Wisdom Teeth and the Appendix

    But Why?

    In both cases it appears to be leftover equipment from an era when we used to eat a lot more leaves, before we converted to our modern burrito-based diet.

    Although some of us prefer enchiritos.

    Your wisdom teeth get impacted and infected because you don't have room for them, and you don't have room for them because they came about when earlier versions of humans had larger jaws, which were more suited to chewing up plant matter. Grinding up leaves as opposed to soft meat and/or pizza is hard work and it requires more teeth to spread out the load. Especially because you have to eat so much of it.

    Salad isn't generally considered "filling."

    As for the appendix, the most popular theory is that it once helped in digesting all these greens. It's an extension of the cecum, an organ that is much larger in herbivores than carnivores because it's used to break down the tremendous amount cellulose they take in. Since we no longer have a need for this extension of the cecum, it has shrunk into a vestigial organ that looks like a worm. That's just one theory. There actually hasn't been all that much study into the appendix because, you know, who gives a shit what it does.

(Disclaimer: I'm not an evolutionary biologist so I have really no clue about the veracity of the scientific claims made in the article I'm linking to. And even though I'm a librarian and should be keen for this sort of thing, I couldn't be bothered to search the literature to verify those claims. Whatever. It's in Cracked, people, what do you expect?)

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