There is no doubt that today human evolution is still going on. Most of the time, it is about very unspectacular changes. However, the consequences for our health are not impossible. A recent study has shed light on a growing phenomenon involving a persistent forearm artery, and this is not really good news.
One more artery
This year, several studies have referred to human evolution. The first estimated that the average size of the human body has changed significantly due to climate change. Another evoked the last major evolution of the thumb dating from 2 million years ago. However, other such work dating back to 2020 has gone fairly unnoticed. This is the case of a publication in the Journal of Anatomy, in which researchers from several Australian universities mention an additional blood vessel present in our forearms. According to scientists, this artery is originally present when the child is still in its mother’s womb. Most of the time, it is temporary but sometimes, some individuals keep it for a month after birth, or even until adulthood.
Only here, the artery present temporarily in our forearms would not disappear as often as before. The leaders of the study recall that since the 17th century, anatomists have studied the prevalence of the artery in adults. This was 10% for people born in the mid-1880s, compared to 30% for people born at the end of the 20th century. Thus, the prevalence of the artery is increasing and significantly given the relatively short period in question.
Credit: Paladjai / iStock
A majority of people will have it by 2100
The persistence of this blood channel three times higher today than a century and a half ago is an astonishing discovery. This suggests that natural selection favors individuals retaining this blood supplement. For scientists, this could be the result of mutations in genes playing a role in the development of the middle artery. It could also be health problems in mothers during pregnancy. Either way, a majority of people will have a midline artery in the forearm by 2100, obviously in case the trend continues.
Finally, you should know that this persistent blood channel is not an advantage. The latter does not make our forearms stronger or our fingers more skilled. In reality, the only noticeable effect is rather harmful because it is a question of a greater risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is precisely this disease that makes people less able to use their hands.