You must be thinking how could we have gone through an evolution as Homo sapiens but we are still Homo sapiens. One answer is we still have left overs from early on when we just became H. sapiens. One of these left overs is the appendix, although there is much difference in opinion whether or not it is useful. In the early days of the H. sapien the appendix was to help to extract nutrients from plants and uncooked foods we were to eat, along with helping to filter out dangerous bacteria. Since we have learned to clean what we eat along with cook what we eat, many believe that this organ is just around to get infected. Taking that into account, there are some who have studied the appendix at length to find out what it does now. It so happens that this vestigial organ is seen as vital towards fetus and young adults. Professor Loren G. Martin of Oklahoma State University states “endocrine cells appear in the appendix of the human fetus at around the 11th week of development. These endocrine cells of the fetal appendix have been shown to produce various biogenic amines and peptide hormones, compounds that assist with various biological control (homeostatic) mechanisms.” After the fetal and young adult state, in full grown adults the appendix helps in the immune functions. Although, that said, the appendix does not exist in domesticated animals. So why do humans, the being that has domesticated these animals, still have that ancient organ? But there is another body part that is painful for some when it comes along: the wisdom teeth.
Unlike the appendix in which forms when all humans are in the womb, the wisdom teeth is a totally different process. Let us start with why we need, or better yet, still have wisdom teeth. Just like the appendix, we used our wisdom teeth to better break up plant life and uncooked meats. I theorize that before the advent of fire, all H. sapiens would get their wisdom teeth in before we do now. But as we began to not needing them as much, the rate of the growth of these molars was pushed further and further back til we reached late teens early twenties. The reason I am saying is because several current modern H. sapiens some of those teeth do not come out all the way, and with some the wisdom teeth do not even to erupt. Also, just like the appendix, a majority of the population who do get their wisdom teeth, the tooth gets infected and must be taken out.
The last form of evolution we have gone through as the same species, is the most noticeable: skin colour. Now skin colour is not only evidence of evolution within our own species, but also of natural selection. What I mean by this is as we moved to different areas of the Earth, we were exposed to many UV rays, or not enough. The areas were there is a great exposure the skin colour gradually turns dark to protect from skin cancer and sun burn. Darker skin equals thicker skin. The chance of skin cancer in these areas, like Africa, were the sun is strong to dark skinned inhabitants is less likely than to those who are born albino. This is an example of natural selection; if those who are bone albino in Africa, do no have much of a chance to live into their late 20's early 30's if they are exposed as much as those around them. Now think of it, if in areas were it is hot with much sun exposure we have dark skin, where would we have evolved to have lighter skin? If you think of areas such as Russia or Europe, you would be right. In those areas the inhabitants do not venture outside much mostly because of weather. When they do they need as much vitamin D from the sun as possible, which is why they would evolve to have lighter skin so the sun can get more easily into the skin. The natural selection factor for those who have lighter skin, mostly has to do with birth. The lack of vitamin D can not only lead to low birth weight in babies, but can also lead to problems in childbirth that leads to death. Other side effects of not enough vitamin D in light skinned humans, is it can lead to a bone disease called rickets (softening of bones which leads to bowed legs, and deformed pelvis.
With all the evolution our species, Homo sapiens have gone through, we cannot possibly have room to evolve more. But frankly, it is possible. Let us go back to the evolution of technology example I gave at the beginning of this blog. You would think that with all the attention we are putting into having other things evolve we have stunted our own evolution. But what if, just what if we evolve even more to fit with the technology we helped evolve? Some theorize that our eyes will become bigger because of technology, but I theorize that they might get smaller. Think of what happens to your pupil when a light is shined on it, it gets smaller. If anything, bigger eyes would have proved more useful in our early evolution to make seeing predators easier. But now, when we are safe in our home, at work, at school, in front of a bright screen, being a lap top or phone, we have no need to be hypersensitive about our surroundings. Combine that with the brightness of our technology, what other conclusion is there that our eyes will slowly become smaller as to focus on the screen we have been looking at. Although, the kind of extreme physical change will take thousands, if not a million years, to occur; if we make it that far. That said, our own species, Homo sapiens, is still a very young one. For example, the neanderthal, they were on Earth longer than we have been.
I hope that you have enjoyed this blog. Please feel free to comment on what you thought of the blog, or other physical anthropological subjects you would like me to cover. Also, I would like to know how you think we could evolve.