This Forearm Artery Shows Our Species Is Still Evolving — Human Evolution

James Marshall
October 11, 2020

As an explanation to this scenario Dr. Lucas said that as the faces are getting shorter, the smaller jaw hardly leaves a place for the wisdom teeth.

"Since the 18th century, anatomists have been studying the prevalence of this artery in adults and our study shows it's clearly increasing", said study author Dr Teghan Lucas in a statement.

"This is happening in time as we have learnt to use fire and process foods more", Lucas said.

According to the researchers, this arterial microevolution joins a handful of examples that demonstrate how human anatomy is changing over time, including the abnormal connections of the foot, an increasing absence of wisdom teeth, and an increasing presence of a small bone in the back of the knee joint called a fabella.

However, as per the researchers, changes in natural selection could be the major reason for micro-evolution.

However, it is not disappearing in many humans and persists into adulthood, especially for people born in the late 20th century.

And the scientists behind the study believe this trend will continue in people born 80 years from now, with the third artery becoming a much more frequent sight. There are also more cases of spina bifida occulta - an opening of the sacral canal, which is the bone at the base of the spine.

Explaining why such evolutionary mutations are occurring, Dr Lucas said: "Humans are now in a relaxed state of natural selection as our environment is considerably favourable to us".

"We have advanced as a species to the point where natural selection no longer removes the outliers in the gene pool". The team found a total of 26 median arteries, displaying a prevalence rate of 33.3%.

The median artery used to form in the womb but disappear after the baby was born and the radial and ulna arteries had grown, the Sky News report further added.

Lucas and co-authors Maciej Henneberg and Jaliya Kumaratilake, from the University of Adelaide, made their finding after studying the anatomical literature and dissecting 78 upper arms from cadavers of European descent donated for studies. It's hoped it could even be utilized during surgeries as a replacement for damaged vessels in other parts of the body.

Scientists in Australia have discovered that people are undergoing a "micro-evolution" in which evolutionary changes can be observed over a short period of time.

Researchers called this retention of the median artery an "evolutionary trend", saying that it is "a ideal example of how we are still evolving".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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