The 12 most useless body parts

March 14, 2008 at 3:59 am (evolution, science)

I went ahead and did the entire slide show in on blog post for you. If you want the pictures, you’ll have to click the links provided.

  1. SUBCLAVIUS MUSCLE: A small muscle that goes from under the shoulder to the first rib to the collarbone that would be used if we walked on all fours. Some people have one, others don’t and some people have two.
  2. APPENDIX: It used to help early humans digest all the plant material they ate. Now, more than 300,000 Americans have appendectomies each year.
  3. Lactiferous ducts form before the sex of the fetus is determined. Men have the necessary tissue to produce milk.
  4. WISDOM TEETH: Humans used to have to chew a lot of plants to get enough food to survive, therefore the extra teeth. Today, only about 5 percent of the population has a healthy set of wisdom teeth.
  5. EXTRINSIC EAR MUSCLES: Three muscles that made it possible for early man to move their ears independently of their heads, the way that dogs and cats can. These muscles are why some people can learn to wiggle their ears.
  6. NECK RIB: A set of small ribs that appear in less than 1 percent of the population. They can cause nerve and artery problems. They may be leftover from the age of reptiles.
  7. THIRD EYELID: Birds have them for protecting the eye and cleaning out debris. Humans still have a tiny fold in the inner corner of the eye.
  8. PALMARIS MUSCLE: A long muscle that runs from the elbow to the wrist. It could have been important for hanging and climbing. 11 percent of people do not have one.
  9. BODY HAIR: Eyebrows help keep sweat out of the eyes and women may be attracted by male facial hair, but most of our body hair serves no function or purpose.
  10. ERECTOR PILI: The muscle that allow animals to puff up their fur to keep warm or intimidate predators. Humans sill have them which allows us to get goose bumps.
  11. PLANTARIS MUSCLE: This foot muscle helps primates grasp with their feet. It’s disappeared in 9 percent of humans.
  12. COCCYX: The tail bone. The fused bones are all that’s left of the tail that most mammals used for balance and communication. Some people think the coccyx helps support organs or that muscles are attached to it, but they can be removed without any health problems.
  13. THIRTEENTH RIB: Chimpanzees and gorillas have them. But only about 8 percent of humans have an extra rib.
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