You have your mom’s smile, your dad’s eyes, and the ear muscles of a Triassic mammal.
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Vestigial structures are evolution’s leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of the common ancestry we share with other animals, they show that the building blocks of the human body predate our species by hundreds of millions of years.
Forty-two percent of Americans say that humans were created in their present form within the past 10,000 years — a percentage that hasn’t changed much since 1982, when Gallup started polling views on evolution.
Several lines of evidence, from the fossil record, comparative anatomy, and genetics, tell another story. But you don’t have to read all the research to find signs of our evolutionary history — you can see it in the vestigial structures in each of our bodies, like the third molars that no longer fit in our mouths. For a few other examples, check out the video above.
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