Vestigial organs are those that are no longer needed in the human body. There are many misconceptions about vestigial organs. One of the most common misconceptions is that vestigial organs no longer function in the human body. In most cases, this is not true. Vestigial organs still function, but are not needed in modern times as they were in the past.
Some vestigial organs include:
• Goosebumps- humans still experience goose bumps when they are afraid, cold, or have a deep emotional response. Originally, the function of goose bumps was to protect the human from the elements. When goose bumps occur, air is trapped in the skin which creates a layer of insulation. This insulation is used to maintain body temperature. Humans now wear clothing and cover their skin to protect themselves from the cold. This means that goose bumps are no longer needed for survival.
• Extrinsic ear muscles- these muscles still exist in the human body, but do not serve any purpose. It is suggested that these muscles were once used to allow people to focus on specific sounds in the ways that animals can. Now, these muscles are very weak in the human body. Some people are still able to use the muscles to wiggle their ears a bit.
• Wisdom teeth-These are no longer needed in the human body, and now often cause pain and other problems to occur. Originally, wisdom teeth could have been used to digest plants more quickly and efficiently because of the lack of adequate nutrition that was available. Now, our diets are completely different, and wisdom teeth are no longer needed. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, but others do. It is very common to have these teeth removed because of the pain and possible infections they may cause.
• Appendix- this may be the most commonly known vestigial organ. The exact original use of this organ is unknown, but many suggest that it was used to digest cellulose in the diet. Now that our diet has been modified, the appendix is no longer necessary. Some people have their appendix taken out because of infections that can occur.
• Plantaris muscle- this muscle can be seen in animals when they grip or try to move things with their feet. Humans have this muscle as well, but we do not need to use it. It is suggested that almost ten percent of people are no longer born with this muscle.
Vestigial organs are present in the human body. For some, it is difficult to determine the exact function that they once performed, but we are able to use some of these in a new manner. For example, doctors now use the plantaris muscle when performing surgery to reconstruct other muscles in the body.
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-Please note that this information is based on research, and does not reflect my personal opinion.