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In my opinion, humans are kind of messed up. They are constantly in a bad mood, they often smell, and they think they are better than everyone and everything – and these are just the traits I can think of off the top of my head, about my brother. Although, while those faults might not be true about all individuals, there is whole different level of issues with people in their anatomical design. My name is Sarah Harington and even I have a few flukes in the way my body is designed, including random errors of evolution and issues from compromises.
Evolution has done a very good job of helping humans survive and continue to adapt. However, despite common belief, evolution does not work like a ladder, turning tiny bacteria into larger animals and ending up with masterpieces like people. Everything it has done has been a fluke; it has put polysporin and a band aid on problems that have arisen as humans have progressed. This has led to some unfortunate designs in parts of the body.
The RLN, or recurring laryngeal nerve, goes from the brain to the voice box, allowing people to speak. It could be a few centimetres long, but instead it branches off the spinal cord, puts itself at risk by intertwining with the aorta before making its way back up to its destination. It is like me writing this speech, I arrived home from school, took a detour to the kitchen, made a brief stop at the tv, a longer stop on my phone, put myself at risk by interacting with my mom, then went back upstairs to the computer. Surgeons have to watch out for this inefficient nerve when working on the heart because even slight damage can impair one’s speech. During the installment of our retinas, the engineer must have been running on as little sleep as us students because they installed it backwards. Light has to pass through many layers of neural apparatus before reaching our photo receptors. By this point the light entering our eye has had enough time to focus then fall out of focus again, which has led to about 30-40% of people in North America having near sightedness.
Just like how we compromise in our daily lives, like kids agreeing to clean their room – throwing everything in the closet – so that parents will agree to let them go out, humans have made trade-offs throughout evolution. The animals people have evolved from had long snouts to fit many olfactory receptors as they relied mainly on their sense of smell to survive. Over time, our muzzles were essentially shoved into our face so it was not protruding in our field of view, as sight is the sense that we rely on predominantly. The parts of the animal’s nose that were forced into our face became the sinuses. Sinuses produce mucus that traps dust and germs and disposes of it into the stomach where it is digested and flushed out the body. Our largest sinuses, the maxillary ones, are positioned behind our cheek bones. They are unfortunately designed so that the drainage point is located at the top, causing a buildup of mucus to occur often which can lead to the common head cold. I do not know where evolution got its ideas from because whoever heard of a plumber installing the drain at the top of the sink. You might wonder why none of these flaws were fixed throughout generations.
Evolution works to change animals enough to survive, but nothing really more than that. As these faults are not detrimental to our existence and act as only a limp in our trek into the future, we have been forced to deal with it ourselves. Although one might not realize it, much good has come from our flaws, as humans have had to learn to rely on and care for each other in order to thrive. What would our society look like today if we did not all work together to build it? So, I ask you, why are generations today so worried about their flaws if we would not be here without them?
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