The Goods

The human body might be super complex but it turns out you don't need everything inside of it

From male nipples to wisdom teeth, a doctor dishes on all the body parts we wouldn't need if they went missing.

From male nipples to wisdom teeth, a doctor dishes on all the body parts we wouldn't need if they went missing

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The human body is very complex, but a lot of our parts don't feel 100% necessary – which makes appendicitis and getting your wisdom teeth removed even more annoying. These body parts, along with some others, were there for a reason at some point in our evolution, but that doesn't mean they are functional today. Dr. Vivian Brown explained why some parts of our bodies are not as vital as others.

Wisdom teeth

The reality is that thousands of years ago we needed these teeth to chew raw, tough food. We don't need them anymore, so people often have them taken out. Wisdom teeth are famous for causing a lot of problems if a person's mouth is too small to accommodate them. Today, about 30% of people aren't born with wisdom teeth, so we know they're actually starting to disappear within the human population.

Male nipples

Nipples are unnecessary in males. When we are developing in the womb, for the first 30 days or so, boys and girls are developing in a similar way. Then when the Y chromosome kicks in as sexual differentiation begins, the development of what would have been breasts stops, but the male's nipples remain.

Appendix

We used to think the appendix is super important, and then further research led scientists to believe that it is not important. But as we begin to investigate again, we think that the appendix may contribute to the balance of bacteria in the gut. That means that there is currently a bit of disagreement amongst the scientific community. But in general, you can live perfectly well without an appendix.

Tailbone

Our tailbone is the last few tiny bones at the bottom of your spine. We don't use that lowest part of our spines because we no longer have tails. We don't move it, it stays in place and it can put a lot of pressure on pregnant women. When people break their coccyx, doctors don't do anything about it because there is nothing to do for a fractured tailbone – they simply leave it alone.

Arrector pili muscles

These are the muscles that give us goosebumps. Goosebumps were really important when we were covered head to toe in hair. Those hair follicles would help us with warning signs and times of distress and a way to keep close to our mothers. We may be very close to our mothers these days, but we aren't covered in hair anymore, so these aren't necessary like they were thousands of years ago.

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