While it’s not news that all living beings continue to evolve with time, certain new features of newborn babies continue to indicate that human beings are evolving rapidly in shorter timespans.
A new study by researchers from Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, published in the Journal of Anatomy, mentions that the human race is experiencing a microevolution with changes happening over a smaller time period when compared to the past 250 years.
They put forward three outstanding features of newborn babies that indicate the microevolution in human beings.
One feature is the much shorter faces and smaller jaws of modern babies. These in turn result in much less room for teeth than there is in our generations. The research says that many newborns are born without wisdom teeth. According to Dr. Teghan Lucas, a co-leader of the study, the absence of wisdom teeth in newborn children is a result of humans having “learnt to use fire and process food more.”
Another evolving feature is additional bones in arms and legs, as found out by Dr. Lucas and colleagues from University of Adelaide professors Jaliya Kumarathilake and Maciej Henneberg. They also discovered strange new connections between two or more bones in people’s feet.
A prominent feature highlighted by the research is the obvious increase in the prevalence of the median artery, starting from the end of the 19th century. This artery forms during the time when babies are still in the womb, to supply blood to the forearm and hand, to be later replaced by the two main arteries, radial and ulnar. However, this median artery seems to continue to retain, without being replaced, resulting in humans having three arteries.
“A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving,” Lucas said.
“But our study shows we are still evolving – faster than at any point in the past 250 years.”