Scientists have discovered a new way in which we can conclude that the process of evolution in humans continues.
Before birth, a median artery develops in our body that runs through the arms and supplies blood to the hands. After some time, in most people, the secondary artery disappears and is replaced by two new arteries. In September, a study published in the Journal of Anatomy showed that the number of people who maintain a median artery after age has been rising since at least the 18th century, indicating that our species continues to produce new biological traits.
“The ongoing microevolution in modern humans is a good argument for the fact that this process is still ongoing, as this artery is much more pronounced in recent births than in previous generations,” said Maquie Heinberg, an anatomist, and author at the University of Adelaide Medical School.
Analyzing existing records and human corpses, the Henneberg Group found that only 10% of people born in the 1880s retained the middle artery, while in people born in the late twentieth century the figure rose to 30%. Based on these numbers, the group concludes that this is the fastest pace of evolution over the last 250 years.
If this trend continues, which is to be expected, having a secondary artery in humans will become not the exception but the norm. Of course, this is excellent, but it will also cause some complications as the secondary artery is associated with painful cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.
“The increase in secondary arteries in adults may have led to gene mutations in these arteries, health problems in mothers during pregnancy, or both,” wrote Tegan Lucas, an anatomist, and archaeologist at Flinders University. “If this trend continues, by 2100 most people will have a middle artery in their arm.”