Video Examines Palmaris Longus, Other Vestigial Organs In Modern Humans As Proof Of Evolution

According to Vox, 42 percent of Americans believe modern humans, existing as they do today, were created within the past 10,000 years, a figure, the publication states, that has remained steady since the early ’80s.

“Several lines of evidence, from the fossil record, comparative anatomy, and genetics, tell another story,” the Vox article reads. A new video produced by Vox is examining vestigial organs, including the palmaris longus, as well as the palmar grasp reflex, as seeming proof of evolution.

Some organs that exist in human bodies aren’t there because they serve a current use, but because they were useful to human ancestors, the video by Vox states, only making sense in the “framework of evolution by natural selection.”

The palmaris longus muscle, featured in the video, is described as being a vestigial organ, and is only present in 85 to 90 percent of the population, and sometimes only in one arm. It’s the band of muscle visible running from the base of the palm of the hand through the wrist up the arm. About 10 percent of the population just don’t have them, reportedly with little effect on strength.

The palmaris longus is so unnecessary that Vox reports that it is commonly removed by surgeons in cases requiring reconstructive surgery in other parts of the body. Mammals that spend more time in trees, such as monkeys and lemurs, are described as possessing more of a need for palmaris longus muscles than humans.

Another vestigial trait common among all humans are goose bumps, which are caused by small muscles, called arrector pili, attached to human hairs contracting, causing them to stand more erect, allowing for a larger coat in mammals with fur, though birds are reported to exhibit similar behavior, providing both warmth and a larger appearance. It has been suggested that dramatic changes in music and other media may be responsible for causing goose bumps in humans as part of a hard-wired “fight or flight” mechanism that causes a high level of alertness.

Some people can wiggle their ears. The muscles that allow them to do this are vestigial: the auricularis anterior, auricularis superior, and auricularis posterior, which allow other mammals to move their ears to better hear sounds coming from different directions. In fact, humans attempt to move their ears towards the direction sounds come from, only in a much less pronounced manner, one that is, however, detectable with electrodes connected to test subjects.

The human tailbone, the coccyx, is also thought to be a vestigial organ, actually the remnant of tails our ancestors had. In fact, every once in a while, due to a mutation, human beings are born with tails. A 1984 report with the U.S. National Library of Medicine with the National Institutes of Health discussed 34 cases of human tails. A possibly NSFW YouTube video, hosted by tellnothing, show what appears to be a young man moving his vestigial tail.

Vox finished its examination of vestigial organs with a look at the palmar reflex and shows footage of a one-month-old baby, clutching a bar, happily dangling in the air below on its own, while closely guarded by caregivers. Perhaps fascinatingly, human babies appear to be programmed to grasp bars or branches much like our seeming evolutionary ancestors did.

It has also been noted by Cracked that there have been examples of dolphins born with legs, chicken with teeth, horses with actual toes, and humans with hearts similar to reptiles, among other seeming evolutionary mutations. Hiccups are also thought to be a vestigial trait, as reported by the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. However, there is still little understood about the cause of hiccups and what exactly the appearance of a bout of hiccups means.

[Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images]