Sunday, April 24, 2016

A body as museum of natural history

I’ve been “under the weather” the past week or so, and have fallen way behind in blogging. Actually, due to a number of things, I started falling behind last month. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t that big a deal, but it’s meant I wasn’t able to share interesting things I’ve run across, like the video above, things I wanted to share but also say a bit more about than I would in an Internet Wading post (also disrupted).

I thought this video from Vox was interesting in its own right, even if I already knew about many/most of the things they talk about, since my undeclared minor in university was anthropology—something I seem to have neglected mentioning on this blog. Oops.

Anyway, I have the palmaris longus muscle in my right arm only, and I knew I had it there, but hadn't noticed that it was only my right arm. I have no idea why, but since I am right-handed, and that arm is more active overall, maybe that’s why.

The video says that the vestigial things they discuss “only make sense within the framework of evolution by natural selection” which is obvious, of course. But the title of the video “Proof of evolution that you can find on your body”, while also true, nevertheless really annoyed me because it sounded to me like it was almost pleading to those who say they don’t “believe” in evolution. Or, maybe I’ve just encountered too much anti-intellectualism too often.

At any rate, there are a lot of videos on YouTube that explain one thing or another, and Vox has produced some pretty good ones, including this one. This one won’t convince a science denier to “believe” in evolution, but maybe it’ll add to the questions they cannot answer rationally without science, leading, with a bit of luck, to a future time in which they stop trying to pretend science isn’t real.

If so, I wonder if they'll experience one of the vestigial reflexes evolution left behind.

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