Future generations won’t have to deal with the pain of teething as an adult because many babies are no longer being born with wisdom teeth.
Australian researchers have found that over time human faces have got shorter, in turn making our mouths smaller and meaning there is less room for the amount of teeth we have previously had.
While some adults see their wisdom teeth arrive without much issue, others have to deal with years of pain as the back teeth try to force their way into gums that are already pretty crowded. They can cause swelling and often have to be removed to prevent the other teeth from moving or becoming damaged.
Considering most people who’ve had their wisdom teeth removed manage to live a normal life after the operation, it’s clear that their arrival isn’t necessary, and our bodies appear to be aware of that.
Dr. Teghan Lucas, from Flinders University, Adelaide, explained that fewer people are now being born with wisdom teeth as part of natural selection and our increased ability to chew food. Dr. Lucas added: ‘This is happening in time as we have learnt to use fire and process foods more.’
In the study, published in the Journal of Anatomy and cited by Sky News, the researchers claim the human race is evolving faster than it has done at any point in the past 250 years.
Dr. Lucas said:
A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving. But our study shows we are still evolving.
Researchers carried out the study by tracking the rate of retainment of different parts of the body through the generations and dissecting preserved corpses of people born throughout the 20th century.
Findings also showed that babies are being born with extra bones in their legs and feet and an extra artery in their arm as a result of this evolution.
The artery, known as the median artery, supplies blood to the hand and has become more prevalent in newborns since the 19th century. It used to form in the womb and disappear after the baby was born, but the study found that one in three people now keep their median arteries for their whole lives.
Professor Maciej Henneberg, an author on the study, commented:
This is ‘micro evolution’ in modern humans.
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.
Dr. Lucas said the ‘evolutionary trend’ of the median artery ‘will continue in those born 80 years from today, with the median artery common in humans’ as a result of natural selection.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to Hasan via [email protected]