More people are being born without wisdom teeth and an extra artery in their arm as a result of a human “microevolution” in recent years, a study has found.
Babies now have shorter faces, smaller jaws and extra bones in their legs and feet, a study in the Journal of Anatomy found.
Australian researchers who worked on the paper claim the human race is evolving faster than it has done at any point in the past 250 years.
Over time, human faces have got shorter, which has seen our mouths get smaller, with less room for as many teeth.
As part of natural selection and our increased ability to chew food, this has resulted in fewer people being born with wisdom teeth, Dr Teghan Lucas from Flinders University, Adelaide, said.
“A lot of people thought humans have stopped evolving. But our study shows we are still evolving – faster than at any point in the past 250 years,” she added.
An artery in the forearm that supplies blood to the hand has become more prevalent in newborns since the 19th century, the study also found.
The median artery used to form in the womb but disappear after the baby was born and the radial and ulna arteries had grown.
Now, one in three people keep their median arteries for their whole lives, which poses no health risk and increases blood supply to the hand.
Author Professor Maciej Henneberg said: “This is ‘micro evolution’ in modern humans.
“The median artery is a perfect example of how we are still evolving because people born more recently have a higher prevalence of this artery when compared to humans from previous generations.”
The research was carried out by tracking the rate of retainment of different parts of the body through the generations and dissecting preserved corpses of people born throughout the 20th century.