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Humans are undergoing a “microevolution” resulting in babies being born without wisdom teeth and with an extra artery in their arm, according to Australian researchers.
The scientists believe humans are evolving faster than at any point in the past 250 years — with more babies coming out with shorter faces, smaller jaws and extra bones in their legs and feet.
The scientists believe humans are evolving faster than at any point in the past 250 years — with more babies coming out with shorter faces, smaller jaws and extra bones in their legs and feet. (iStock)
The stunning findings were part of a study in the Journal of Anatomy.
The extra artery is a median artery that’s first formed in the womb and serves as the main vessel that supplies blood to the forearm and hand, according to Sky News. The median artery vanishes once the radial and ulnal arteries develop, though now one in three people keep it for life.
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There’s no health risk associated with the extraneous body part, which provides increased blood supply to the hand.
“This is ‘micro evolution’ in modern humans,” said the study’s author, Professor Maciej Henneberg. “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.”
The study said people born 80 years from now will all have a median artery if the trend in microevolution continues, BBC’s Science Focus reported.
Wisdom teeth may be a thing of the past, too. Smaller faces means there’s less room for teeth — though the lack of wisdom teeth can be attributed also to an increased ability to chew food.
“This is happening in time as we have learned to use fire and process foods more,” Dr. Teghan Lucas from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told Science Focus. “A lot of people are just being born without wisdom teeth.”
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To get their findings, researchers tracked the rate of retainment of certain parts of the body and analyzed corpses of people born in the 20th century.
They found that some people were also born with extra bones in their arms and legs or with unusual connections of two or more bones in their feet.
“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,” said Lucas.
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