Re: please send vestiges

John Waters (
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 22:46:58 +0100

Andy Cason wrote:
> I am looking for evolutionary vestiges, or evidence of evolution in
> people. An example would be the Coccyx spine as a modified tail. The
> stuff you send can fall in any category. It can be psychological,
> anotomy, or physiology. Anything you can think of would be facinating
> to me. Thanks...
> --------------->AC

You might consider the small ears of many african people to be an
evolutionary vestige. The ancestors of many african tribes appear to
have lived in a high altitude environment - and become cold adapted as a
result. Such people probably had similar features to present day
eskimoes, e.g. straight black hair and small ears. These characteristics
help to reduce heat loss in cold adapted people. When environmental
changes allowed the ancestral africans to decend to lower altitudes,
they became hot adapted, with frizzy hair and slim body
structures. In theory, they could have evolved large ears like those of
the desert fox or elephant. But a simple lengthening of their arms or
legs would be a more effecient way of increasing their heat dissipation.
So the small ears were retained.

A similar case could be made for the (semi) mongloloid eyeflaps of the
Kalahari Bushmen. Such eye features are typical of cold adapted people.

John Waters