A new study suggests that humans are still evolving and "faster than at any point in the last 250 years".
Scientists found an increased prevalence of an artery in the forearm, which has typically disappeared around eight weeks after birth since the late 19th century.
Called the median artery, two more arteries form in their place as the structure begins to disappear. In all three cases, however, the number of cases has increased.
The prevalence started at 10 percent of the population around the 1880s, but cases rose to 30 percent by the 20th century.
The team found that this vessel is currently present in 35 percent of people, and they believe those born in 80 years will have a middle artery.
Since the late 19th century, scientists found an increased prevalence of an artery in the forearm that typically disappears at birth. Called the median artery, two more arteries, the radial and ulnar arteries, form in their place as the structure begins to disappear. However, all three cases show an increase in cases
The discovery was made by experts from Flinders University and the University of Adelaide.
The median artery is an important vessel in the embryogenic circulation and carries blood through the forearm and hand.
After birth, the artery recedes and is replaced by the radial and ulnar arteries.
Dr. Teghan Lucas of Flinders University said, "Anatomists have been studying the prevalence of this artery in adults since the 18th century, and our study shows it is increasing significantly."
The prevalence started at 10 percent of the population around the 1880s, but cases rose to 30 percent by the 20th century. The team found that this vessel is currently present in 35 percent of people, and they believe those born in 80 years will have a middle artery
"The prevalence in people born in the mid-1880s was about 10 percent compared to 30 percent in people born in the late 20th century. So that's a significant increase in a relatively short time when it comes to evolution goes. "
"This increase could be due to mutations in genes involved in the development of the median artery, or maternal health problems during pregnancy, or both."
"If this trend continues, the majority of people will have a middle forearm artery by 2100."
The team suggests the presence of the middle artery benefits as it increases the total blood supply and can be used as a substitute for surgery in other parts of the human body.
And they call this "microevolution" in humans.
Senior author Professor Maciej Henneberg of Adelaide University said, “The median artery is a perfect example of how we continue to develop, as more recently born people have this artery compared to people of earlier generations.
& # 39; We have collected all of the data published in the anatomical literature and have continued to dissect cadavers that have been donated for studies in Adelaide.
"We found that about a third of Australians have the median artery in their forearm and everyone will have it by the end of the century if this process continues."
The median artery is not the only indicator that humans are still developing, as there are cases of people born without wisdom teeth.
The teams say this is because human faces are getting smaller, which leaves less room for those teeth.
The study also identified more cases of spina bifida occulta – an opening in the sacral canal, which is the bone at the base of the spine.
Dr. Lucas added, “We also find that many people have extra joints in their feet – abnormal connections between two or more bones.
The median artery is not the only indicator that humans are still developing, as there are cases of people born without wisdom teeth. The teams say this is because human faces are getting smaller, which leaves less room for those teeth
& # 39; More are also born with a small bone in the back of the knee called a fabella. None of these things can harm you. & # 39;
At the beginning of the millennium, widespread belief in human evolution stopped before the rule of the pharaohs.
However, recent research has shown that genetic changes have occurred 100 times faster in the past 5,000 years than in any other period.
The team isn't the first to dive into the median artery. Experts have been investigating these cases for years.
In 2013, researchers at the Tata Institute in India found multiple cases specifically in left arms during dissections of human adults.
They theorize that the presence of the artery can ultimately lead to a person developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, it can be viewed as an "emergency vessel" for supplying blood to the hand in the event that the radial and ulnar arteries are damaged.
And it could also be used for transplant purposes elsewhere in the body – as suggested in the latest study.
How has the shape of our brains evolved over time?
New research suggests that important evolutionary changes in our brain shape occurred 100,000 to 35,000 years ago. Image from a picture agency
Researchers at the German Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology discovered that important evolutionary changes in our brain shape occurred around 100,000 to 35,000 years ago
The Homo sapiens brain assumed a spherical shape that was "rounder and less overhanging".
In contrast, the brains of our Neanderthals' ancestors were elongated in shape
The evolution of our brain shape coincided with significant behavioral developments when Homo sapiens began:
- Create tools
- Develop a working and long-term memory
- Have confidence
- Use the language
- Plan activities
- understand numbers
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Develop emotions
The brain looked more like a globe because of the bulges in the parietal area and cerebellum