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Evolutionary Flaws in the Human Body

Turns out our design isn’t so perfect after all

Credit: Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash

I get really sick and tired of hearing sentimental statements like "The human body is a perfect design from mother nature", coz it really isn't.

So many parts wear off, so many reflexes end up problematic—heck; we've heard of cases where the immune system mistakes a tissue or an organ for a pathogen, and just straight up attacks it. Jeez!

In this article, we're going to see some serious evolutionary flaws in the human body, and probably give mother nature the middle finger.... If we still have the time.

1. Our Eyes

Do I really need to explain much? I mean, there's a high chance you're reading this right now with glasses on.

To show you how much of an issue this is, 7 out of 10 Asians, and nearly half of Americans and Europeans have worn glasses since elementary school.

We're quite fortunate to have glasses in this day and age, but what about our cavemen ancestors? In those periods, if you have eye problems, you'd be in serious trouble because you won't be able to hunt for prey, or effectively protect yourself

If that doesn't make you ask questions, maybe your blind spot will.

That’s right, every vertebrate out there has a blind spot, and it’s due to the way our eyes are built.

The part of our eyes that’s sensitive to light is made up of cells called photoreceptors. The photoreceptors are made up of a head that converts photons to electrical energy, and a the other end has a cord thingy that transmits it to the brain. The cord is called the optic nerve. The setup kinda looks like a microphone.

Photo credit: Screenshot from a youtube channel named “It’s okay to be smart”

The head is pointed towards the light, while the other end is connected to the brain so that when light touches the head, it quickly transmits it as electrical impulses through the cord to the brain.

Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be if evolution knew what it was doing, but it decided to be edgy and rotate the whole thing.

This means that the retina is designed in such a way that the other end faces the source of light. Not just that, all the cords have to pass through a small hole to get to the brain; that hole is our blind spot.

Photo credit: screenshot from a youtube channel named “It’s okay to be smart"

We all have blind spots because, at the time our ancestors developed their first light sensitive tissues, the other end was already facing the area where light was supposed to come in, and by the time the eyes were fully developed, it was too late for the photoreceptors to flip back to normalcy, so we just went with it

We just don't notice our blind spots because our brain continues to lie to us by filling out the image.

However; lower organisms like squids and octopuses don't have blind spots. Octopuses are very incredible animals, and I'll write about them soon.

2. Our Trachea and oesophagus

The problem is not in their existence (obviously), but in their proximity to each other.

We've all had that awkward moment where we swallowed spit wrongly, or drank water hurriedly and then begin to cough frantically.

This happens when we accidentally ingest substances into the trachea, instead of the oesophagus

Let me back track it a bit: You see; the oesophagus is a smooth tube-like muscular passageway with which food uses to take a trip down the stomach.

When you swallow food, the muscles contract and relax rhythmically to push down the food, and if it's liquid, it pretty much just slides down.

The trachea on the other hand is a passageway to the lungs.

Both passageway are close to each other, so close, that if you’re not careful, you could end up pushing food or liquids through the trachea instead of the oesophagus.

Due to how delicate the lungs are, the trachea is very sensitive—sensitive enough to recognize when there's a foreign object, and when that happens, it rapidly contracts to expel such object. This causes you to cough, or sneeze.

However, there are times when the foreign object is so large that it gets wedged tightly between the walls of the trachea, so tight that coughing and sneezing dosent help dislodge it, and at that point, the person is said to be choking.

This is actually a serious problem as more than 5,000 people in the US died from choking in 2019.

Evolution did not do us good with the positioning of those two, I mean look at birds and snakes, they can’t choke, but at least we can sing so,.. there’s that

3. Our knees and ankles

Our ancestors used to walk on all four limbs so they could adequately support their entire body weight.

Now that we’ve evolved to walk on only two legs, all the weight of our body rests on our knees and ankles.

You don't see chimpanzees complaining of a twisted ankle, do you? As a matter of fact, the joints on our knees and ankles are so poorly done, that you'd be surprised how you're still able to walk.

When you're running at full speed and make a sudden turn, at that point, the only thing keeping both halves of your legs together is a small, strip called the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

Photo credit: “It’s okay to be smart" youtube channel

It has no blood vessels at all, this makes it unable to repair itself. That means, if you tear it, it can only be fixed through surgery.

Apart from that, there’s also a strip of rubber-like material close to your ankle called the Achilles Tendon

Photo credit: “It’s okay to be smart” youtube channel

The Achilles Tendon also takes up a lot of your body weight when you walk, and if you tear that one, you won’t be able to walk.

Imagine how our caveman ancestors who lived long before surgery was invented were able to cope with such issues. They basically died from starvation or predation.

Oh well, while other lower animals stayed on all fours, evolution made us walk on two feet so we get what we get.

4. Our diets

Other animals also need the same kind of nutrients we need to survive, but here's the difference; their bodies can synthesize most of them by themselves.

Think about it, do animals need to worry about a balanced diet? Lions pretty much meat all day, cows eat grass all day, yet they don't get malnourished.

We on the other hand have to go grocery shopping to be able to prepare a balanced diet. While dogs and cats can synthesize vitamin C, we have to get them from food.

Not just that, out of the 20 Amino acids needed for protein synthesis, our bodies produce only 11. On the other hand, many animals can make all 20!

Oh! And don't get me started on wisdom teeth.

The human body is a work in progress, so many tweaks are made along the way. Our bodies have to adjust to every new generation, and it could get very inconvenient and painful.

However, nothing is perfect, not even the human body, but that’s okay, because surviving isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being good enough.

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Ossai Ceejay

Ossai Ceejay

Ceejay loves science, tech, nature, psychology, and also happens to be a bit introverted. Crap! Ceejay's said too much, back to the hole to continue hibernating

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