Friday, February 6, 2009

Darwin Day Special: OK so flies evolve... but what about people

In my last post I wrote about work that demonstrates the evolution of fruit flies over a period of a couple of hundred years. This kind of research shows us we can look around at the living world and see evidence that evolution is happening around us, but what about us? Are there things in our bodies that hint at our evolutionary past?

Why do we have parts in our bodies that don't function? Why do we have things like goose bumps, which don't do anything for us? Structures present in an organism, but not functional (even though these structures may function in other organisms) are called vestigial structures.

What is responsible for the construction of vestigial structures during development? Sequences of DNA.
Where does DNA come from? Our ancestors......

For a list of vestigial structures found in humans click here.

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