Evolution’s Vestigial Argument (Part 2)
Human Vestigial Organs
Laura Spinney wrote an article in New Scientist titled “Five Things Humans No Longer Need” (2008). On the list were wisdom teeth, goose bumps, the coccyx, the vomeronasal organ (a part of the nose), and Darwin’s point (a “minor malformation” on the ear). ( Spinney, Laura (2008), “Five Things Humans No Longer Need,” New Scientist, May 19, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13927-five-things-humans-no- longer-need.html)
The human embryo has a yolk sac. Evolutionist see this as a vestigial leftover from man’s evolution. However, it has been shown to be the source of the developing child’s first blood cells. Blood cells are formed in the bone marrow. Until the fetus can develop bones it is in need of a yolk sac.
In observing the stages of the developing fetus it would appear that the unborn child has gill slits. Are these are vestigial remnants from man’s evolution from fish in the ocean? After all some children are born with small holes in their neck. However, these so-called “gill slits” are merely the pouches where the tonsils and parathyroids are developed. Humans do not posses the DNA instructions for the development of gills (Parker 57).
Tailbone or Coccyx
The human coccyx or tailbone is a group of four or five small vertebrae fused into one bone. Called the coccyx because of its similarity to the shape of a cuckoo’s beak. This anatomical structure is used as evidence for man’s evolution. “…humans have a tailbone .. of no apparent use…The vestigial tailbone in humans…can be viewed as evidence for evolution: organisms having vestigial structures probably share a common ancestry” (Holt Biology, 1989). “The coccyx is a small bone at the end of the human vertebral column. It has no present function and is thought to be the remainder of bones that once occupied the long tail of a tree-living ancestor” (Heath Biology 1991, p. 264).
Further proof that tailbone are evolutionary, non-functioning leftovers is babies are born with a long fleshy growth on their backs believed to be a tail. This so-called tail is nothing more than a fatty tumor left over form the prenatal development of the child’s spine.
Medical science has discovered that the tailbone is anything but vestigial. The nine small muscles which attach to the tailbone serve the human body with vital functions. Six of these form a bowl-shaped muscular foundation for the pelvis known as the pelvic diaphragm. Without them, human beings would not being able to have bowel movements, give birth, move their legs with ease, etc. Since God is the creator of man and his reproduction, He is well aware of how the body is formed in the womb. Jeremiah wrote, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5).
The appendix is the most often organ labeled vestigial by evolutionists. It is a little, worm-shaped tube attached to the cecum at the end of the ascending colon. The appendix is not found in birds, reptiles or amphibians. Although monkeys do not have an appendix, apes and humans have them.
Evidence for the appendix being considered vestigial is the fact that it can be removed without having any adverse effects. In fact in the last century they were electively removed during abdominal surgery. Another reason is that its function was unknown to medical science. “It’s major importance would appear to be financial support of the surgical profession” (A.S. Romer and T.S. Parson, The Vertebrate Body (Philadelphia: Saunders College Publications, 1986), p. 389). However, the lack of knowledge about function is not proof of no function
Does the appendix have a function? It is “a highly functional part of the immunological and endocrine systems” (see Bergman and Howe, 1990, pp. 40-47). Bergman, Jerry and George Howe (1990), “Vestigial Organs” Are Fully Functional (Kansas City, MO: Creation Research Society Books). It plays an essential function in defense against infection in the young and perhaps assists in the prevention of cancer. When the colon is purged in response to exposure to harmful pathogens the colon needs to be replenished with good bacteria. The appendix is a source of this healthy and necessary bacteria. The appendix “acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating the good germs” (Borenstein, 2007). Borenstein, Seth (2007), “Scientists: Appendix Protects Good Germs”. What the tonsils are to the start of the digestive track the appendix has similar lymphatic tissue which serves a similar role in the colon.
Years ago while having a Bible study in the home of some friends, the lady of the house had been to the dentist who told her she had to have her eight wisdom teeth removed. While most only have a set of four third molars, some have an additional set. When she questioned the dentist as to why she had an extra set, he casually informed her that it was a result of evolution. Most humans had evolved beyond the need of a extra set of wisdom teeth.
Because these teeth often present problems for modern man, evolutionist list them as vestigial. Useless teeth which evolved humans have not need. According to the theory of evolution, the human jaw has been shrinking.
However, wisdom teeth are not without function. Like the other molars, humans use them to chew their food.
Body Hair and Goose Bumps
Another example of vestigial structures is human body hair and the small muscles attached to these hairs. They are believed to be leftovers from our hairy ancestors. Most mammals have plenty of hair to insulate them from the cold and protect them from ultra violet radiation from the sun. Humans do not have a thick coat of fur. To stay cool man sweats a great deal in order to regulate body temperature. The human defense against UV damage is to tan or wear clothing.
Humans are not without hair. Their hair is very fine. In fact, we have the same hair density as that of most primates.
Human hair has a variety of functions and therefore is not vestigial. A sensory nerve is a part of man’s hair and sends signals to our brain. It tells us when there is a breeze blowing or a mosquito landing on the arm. Also associated with each hair are circular muscles called Erector Pili which can form what are called “Goose bumps.” Its sensory function supplied with sensory nerves feel the air and send sensory signals to our brain. Frightened or chilled muscles produce heat. Connected to this is the automatic response of shivering. Furthermore these hairs and related nerves and muscles are important to the regeneration of skin after a burn, cut or abrasion. Otherwise even small injuries could require a skin graph.
Many other anatomical structures and organs in the human body have been targeted as vestigial by evolutionists. These also have been shown to have important functions. Nose hairs have been considered useless. Yet a healthy set of nose hairs help remove microscopic particles which would otherwise end up in the sinuses, throat or lungs. Fingers nails have been called functionless former claws left over from evolution. Yet without finger nails man would have a much harder time handling small objects picking their nose and scratching their heads in bewilderment over all the vestigial arguments of evolution.
God made man and knew what He was doing. The psalmist wrote, “what is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6).
– Daniel R. Vess