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Humans are developing an extra artery in the arm

It appears that more and more adults have an extra artery in their arms as humans continue to evolve at a rapid pace, a study found.

Scientists in Australia believe that humans are going through a microevolution in which evolutionary changes can be observed over a short period of time.

The artery forms while the baby is in the womb and is the main vessel that supplies blood to the forearm and hand, but it usually disappears during gestation and is replaced by the radial and ulnar arteries. However, some people keep all three.

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Dr. Teghan Lucas of Flinders University in Adelaide, along with Professor Maciej Henneberg and Dr Jaliya Kumaratilake of the University of Adelaide, showed a “significant increase”

; in median artery prevalence since the late 19th century. The team analyzed documents published in the anatomical literature and dissected cadavers of individuals born in the 20th century.

“From 18th Century, anatomists have studied the prevalence of this artery in adults and our study shows that it is clearly increasing, “said Dr. Lucas.

“The prevalence was about 10% in people born in the mid-1880s compared to 30% in those born in the late 1980s.th Century, so this is a significant increase in a fairly short period of time when it comes to evolution, “he said.

Sketch of the median arterial vessel that supplies blood to the human forearm and hand © Professor Maciej Henneberg

Sketch of the median arterial vessel that supplies blood to the human forearm and hand © Professor Maciej Henneberg

“But an increasing number of cases retain it, so a person can have all three arteries,” the authors wrote. “People born 80 years from now will all carry a median artery if the trend continues.”

Dr. Lucas said the study shows that humans are evolving at a faster rate than at any point in the past 250 years.

The median artery isn’t the only example of ongoing human evolution. Many babies are born without wisdom teeth. Dr. Lucas said faces are getting much shorter, with smaller jaws, meaning there’s less room for the teeth.

“This is happening over time, as we have learned to use more fire and process food more. Many people are being born without wisdom teeth, “he said.

Research has also found that some people are born with additional bones in their arms and legs and shorter faces, or with abnormal connections of two or more bones in their feet.

The authors of the investigation suggested that changes in natural selection could be the main reason for microevolution.

Reader’s Questions and Answers: Which part of the human body has evolved most recently?

Requested by: Luca Blackwell

Evolution doesn’t just hand out useful traits like opposable thumbs or color vision like lottery prizes. Natural selection is constantly evolving and no part of our body is more “recent” than another. But some are changing faster.

One of the fastest engines is the human jaw, which has steadily shrunk over the past 10,000 years as the invention of agriculture and cooking has given us softer foods that require less chewing.

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