This is How Science Confirmed You Are Still Evolving
As we observe the world around us, we learn many amazing facts about how different life forms have to constantly adapt to survive. There are billions of variables in our world, capable of creating an infinite number of conditions and circumstances.
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For instance, science has seen bacteria strengthen themselves against anti-biotics¹ and have seen rats undergo specific physiological changes² to survive in urban environments.
This leaves us with an obvious question. Are our bodies changing in response to these new environments?
Are we really evolving?
The answer is yes! When you think about it, there is no reason to believe that we ever stopped evolving — because that’s what biological life does.
As we observe natural selection occurring in nature, we cannot ignore that we are part of that landscape. Scientists claim that there are some trillions of mutations that took place in our bodies every single day.
Exciting new study results
A brand new study has found proof that not only are we evolving, but we are most likely evolving at the fastest rate we ever have in all of human history. The reason is simple; our world is changing at record rates as well.
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The research points to several prominent examples of this conclusion. They cite how more and more humans are lacking wisdom teeth, the presence of extra foot bones, how babies’ faces have smaller jaws, and an increased presence of a fabella — which is the small bone behind the knee joint.
While these gradual modifications of the human body are notable, they were not the final report's major focus. The most conclusive observation was the sudden increase in the median artery's presence in the forearm of adult humans.
The researcher team is calling trends like this a “micro evolution.” And we will probably be seeing more of them in the future.
The rise of the median artery
This remarkable study was written by scientists from Flinders University and the University of Adelaide in South Australia. It was recently posted in the Journal of Anatomy³.
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The purpose of this median artery is to supply blood to the forearm of a fetus in the womb during early gestation. It usually trophies, and it gets replaced by the ulna and radial prior to birth. In the past, there have been very few adults with all three arteries — median, ulna, and radial — but this is now changing.
The report’s main author Maciej Henneberg stated, “This is micro evolution in modern humans, and the median artery is a perfect example of how we’re still evolving because people born more recently have a higher prevalence of this artery when compared to humans from previous generations.”
This phenomenon was initially observed in the 18th century, and there was also a study of the artery in 1995. This study has been an extension of that work and found that this artery trio's presence is accelerating.
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“The prevalence was around 10% in people born in the mid-1880s compared to 30% in those born in the late 20th century,” claims report author Teghan Lucas, “so that’s a significant increase in a fairly short period of time when it comes to evolution.”
Exactly why this is happening isn’t known at this point. “This increase could have resulted from mutations of genes involved in median artery development or health problems in mothers during pregnancy, or both actually,” claims Lucas.
But she contends that one thing is clear: “If this trend continues, a majority of people will have median artery of the forearm by 2100.”
These scientists concluded that we are evolving more rapidly now than at any time during in the last 250 years of study.
: Leslie Pray, Ph.D. (2008). Antibiotic Resistance, Mutation Rates and MRSA. https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/antibiotic-resistance-mutation-rates-and-mrsa-28360/.
: Kate Ng. (March 8, 2020). New York rats feel pressure of city living and evolve to mimic human habits. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/rats-new-york-city-life-evolve-human-habits-a9385171.html.
: Teghan Lucas, Jaliya Kumaratilake, Maciej Henneberg. (September 10, 2020). Recently increased prevalence of the human median artery of the forearm: A microevolutionary change. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joa.13224.