In the first chapter of The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin identified roughly a dozen body parts that he gleefully described as “useless, or nearly useless.” Darwin’s catalog was far from complete — our bodies are littered with parts we don’t need. Over the next millennia, the following 10 body parts will probably vanish. Some may no longer exist 500 years from now.
Researchers discovered that humans predominantly used to balance on the midline of their foot. Our toes were therefore used to hold our balance. However, our center of balance has slowly moved toward the side of our big toe over time. In this respect, our toes have lost their original function and have become almost superfluous.
2. Darwin’s point
Many people have a small folded point of skin toward the top of each ear. It’s what’s left of a larger point we used to have. Back then, the point was probably used to help pick up distant sounds.
3. Male nipples
In the early stages of a baby’s development, the child doesn’t have a sex as such and develops nipples. When the fetus develops into a male baby, the nipples remain. Due to insufficient prolactin production in the body, the male body cannot produce milk though. That’s why men’s nipples are actually redundant.
4. Paranasal sinuses
They’re often a cause for complaint when we’re feeling stuffed up. It’s probably quite irritating to find out that these mucus-lined cavities are superfluous in the human body. However, it’s also supposed that they keep the weight of your head down as they prevent bones from growing in this area.
5. Wisdom teeth
Our ancestors had a diet high in plant content which needed to be chewed thoroughly. And that’s where wisdom teeth came in. However, they’re no longer needed today and are often surgically removed. In the future, they’ll most probably disappear from our jaws altogether.
6. Palmaris muscle
Around 11% of the population no longer has this muscle which runs from the elbow to the wrist. Since it was once used for climbing and hanging, it’s only really important for martial artists or rock climbers these days.
7. Neck rib
Less than 1% of the population has a full set of these cervical ribs; people may also have them on one side. They often suffer from problems with their arteries.
8. Body hair
Eyebrows are intended for keeping sweat from your forehead running into your eyes. Otherwise, most body hair has no further function, except for playing a role in attracting members of the opposite sex.
9. Arrector pili muscles
These small muscles allow animals to puff up their fur when they want to intimidate others. Humans also have these muscles. It’s what happens when you get goosebumps. However, this function is now redundant.
The tailbone (Coccyx) is where mammals’ tails start. Animals use their tails to communicate with others and and keep their balance. Today, the tailbone is merely a remnant of our ancestral past.