We’ve all heard of the infamous prehistoric “Walking Whales” that roamed the earth around 47 million years ago. And that too in the wilderness of our very own province of Balochistan!
Fossils of these mighty beasts show that these ancient ancestors of whales had fully developed legs that allowed them to stray out of the water and walk the uninhabited coastal shores. So, why is it that the whales of today have little or no evidence of ever having hind legs? Perhaps a better question would be, why do present day humans have remnants of a tail in the shape of a coccyx or a tail bone?
Well, if you’d ask Charles Darwin, the most influential naturalist of the 19th Century, he’d pin it down to his theory of evolution. According to Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species, the human body might have been quite different once as compared to the standard human specimen we see before us today. Present day humans, as per Darwin have certain “discarded” parts he called “vestiges” which slowly lost their purpose over the course of evolution and we ended up with a mere reminder in the form of a tiny bone that we completely lose once we’re out of the womb.
Darwin thought these “vestigial” organs were once important for our survival, or have something to do with our inherent genetic makeup with simply changed with time. But the tail bone isn’t the only weird body part that seems useless.
Ever wondered why we’re born with an appendix? We’ve always heard that it’s a useless organ right next to the stomach, but new research has led scientists to believe that this fancy pouch isn’t there just for show. As per new evidence, scientists believe the appendix might be a safe house for healthy and beneficial bacteria to grow in in case the gut is in need of some help. However, the study also looked at the 1 in 20 people who lose their appendix quite early on in their life and found that losing it had no effect on their health.
According to anthropologists and some scientists, wisdom teeth were once really important to our early ancestors who had much larger jaws and used these large molars to grind leaves and plants. However, now since our jaws are smaller, wisdom teeth seem like nothing more than an especially painful rite of passage for everyone who has them.
Perceived as perhaps the most useless body part, these underdeveloped female organs in men might be the most important in understanding our genetic makeup and like the Scientific American states, “the presence of nipples in male mammals is a genetic architectural by-product of nipples in females. So, why do men have nipples? Because females do.”Every fetus essentially starts out female and this can only change if the amount of testosterone inherited by the father is strong enough to make the change. This genetic similarity might be why some men can be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Some animals such as mammals have a distinct way of showing us that they perceive some danger around them or feel the effect of the weather, and one of those ways is for their fur to stand on it’s end to trap heat and make sure they’re warm. However, that’s the same as goosebumps in human beings. Isn’t that weird? Especially when we have no fur of our own.