Unnecessary Body Parts


It is a common perception that not any part of the body is useless; but actually there are some. Here are some facts about the body parts we don’t actually need.

 

VOMERONASAL ORGAN


There are tiny (and useless) chemoreceptors lining the inside of the nose.

A tiny pit on each side of the septum is lined with nonfunctioning chemoreceptors. They may be all that remains of a once extensive pheromone-detecting ability.

EXTRINSIC EAR MUSCLES


This trio of muscles most likely made it possible for prehominids to move their ears independently of their heads, as rabbits and dogs do. We still have them, which is why most people can learn to wiggle their ears.

Adenoids

Adenoids are masses of lymphoid tissue that are located at the very back of the nose. These tissues are part of the immune system and trap bacteria that can cause viruses. However, they only provide a strong defense against bacteria that is inhaled. As you grow, your adenoids shrink, which makes them useless. They are only helpful when you are a child.

WISDOM TEETH 

This third set of molars is largely useless, doing little beyond crowding the mouth and sometimes causing pain.
Early humans had to chew a lot of plants to get enough calories to survive, making another row of molars helpful. Only about 5 percent of the population has a healthy set of these third molars.

NECK RIB


A set of cervical ribsâ”possibly leftovers from the age of reptiles”still appear in less than 1 percent of the population. They often cause nerve and artery problems.

THIRD EYELID



A common ancestor of birds and mammals may have had a membrane for protecting the eye and sweeping out debris. Humans retain only a tiny fold in the inner corner of the eye.

DARWINS POINT


A small folded point of skin toward the top of each ear is occasionally found in modern humans. It may be a remnant of a larger shape that helped focus distant sounds.

SUBCLAVIUS MUSCLE


This small muscle stretching under the shoulder from the first rib to the collarbone would be useful if humans still walked on all fours. Some people have one, some have none, and a few have two.

PALMARIS MUSCLE


This long, narrow muscle runs from the elbow to the wrist and is missing in 11 percent of modern humans. It may once have been important for hanging and climbing. Surgeons harvest it for reconstructive surgery.

MALE NIPPLES


Lactiferous ducts form well before testosterone causes sex differentiation in a fetus. Men have mammary tissue that can be stimulated to produce milk.

ERECTOR PILI


Bundles of smooth muscle fibers allow animals to puff up their fur for insulation or to intimidate others. Humans retain this ability (goose bumps are the indicator) but have obviously lost most of the fur.

APPENDIX

Yep, your appendix is basically useless. While it does produce some white blood cells, most people are fine with an appendectomy.
This narrow, muscular tube attached to the large intestine served as a special area to digest cellulose when the human diet consisted more of plant matter than animal protein. It also produces some white blood cells. Annually, more than 300,000 Americans have an appendectomy.

BODY HAIR

While facial hair serves some purposes, the hair found on the rest of body is practically useless and can be removed with few ill effects.
Brows help keep sweat from the eyes, and male facial hair may play a role in sexual selection, but apparently most of the hair left on the human body serves no function.

PLANTARIS MUSCLE


Often mistaken for a nerve by freshman medical students, the muscle was useful to other primates for grasping with their feet. It has disappeared altogether in 9 percent of the population.

THIRTEENTH RIB


Our closest cousins, chimpanzees and gorillas, have an extra set of ribs. Most of us have 12, but 8 percent of adults have the extras.

MALE UTERUS

Yeah, men have one too — sort of. A remnant of an undeveloped female reproductive organ hangs off the male prostate gland.

FIFTH TOE OR PINKIE TOE


Lesser apes use all their toes for grasping or clinging to branches. Humans need mainly the big toe for balance while walking upright.

FEMALE VAS DEFERENS 

What might become sperm ducts in males become the epoophoron in females, a cluster of useless dead-end tubules near the ovaries.

PYRAMIDALIS MUSCLE


More than 20 percent of us lack this tiny, triangular pouchlike muscle that attaches to the pubic bone. It may be a relic from pouched marsupials.

COCCYX OR THE TAIL BONE

These fused vertebrae are all that’s left of the tail that most mammals still use for balance and communication. Our hominid ancestors lost the need for a tail before they began walking upright.

PARANASAL SINUSES 


The nasal sinuses of our early ancestors may have been lined with odor receptors that gave a heightened sense of smell, which aided survival. No one knows why we retain these perhaps troublesome mucus-lined cavities, except to make the head lighter and to warm and moisten the air we breathe.

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Posted on October 25, 2011, in Information and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. clickbank4success

    Very interesting. I used to be a Paramedic, and that stuff still gets my interest.
    Thanks Phil.

  2. Rattling excellent info can be found on web blog .

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