Is There Really "Proof of Evolution ... on Your Body"?

"Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body," a YouTube video reporting over 14 million hits in its first two weeks online, is the latest presentation to prop up the human evolutionary story through our presumably useless body parts. Ever since Darwin branded organs he considered nonfunctional as evidence for his beliefs, drumbeaters for the evolutionary worldview periodically trot out lists of them to convince people that humans are the advanced animal products of random chance processes and natural selection. The video opens by declaring the human body a museum of natural history, loaded with "parts that aren't there because you need them, but because your animal ancestors did" (:06), and claiming, "These remnants of our deep history only make sense within the framework of evolution by natural selection" (:16). The so-called remnants selected for this video are structures and reflexes that are easily visible: a tendon in the forearm, seemingly useless muscles attached to your ears, goose bumps, the tailbone you may have bumped in a fall, and a tiny baby's strong grasp. We contend that these and all other alleged anatomical footprints of our supposed evolutionary past are best understood as footprints of our wise Creator's handiwork.

Palmaris Longus Muscle

Because it is one of several muscles that flex your wrist, the palmaris longus is a muscle you can do without. In fact, you may be among the 10–15% of people who already do without it in one or both arms. To see whether you have one or not, touch your pinkie to your thumb while flexing your wrist. If you have a palmaris longus, you will see its tendon as a tight, raised band extending down into your hand, where it attaches to the strong, flat layer of connective tissue in your palm.

The palmaris longus, according to many reports, is quite unnecessary, its absence presumably causing no difference in grip strength. And being long, strong, and dispensable, it is a favorite among surgeons who harvest it for tendon grafts. But we must point out that the fact that a structure can be done without does not mean it is a footprint — a vestige — of an evolutionary past. Such a claim presumes we evolved from animals; it does not prove that we did.

Many of our body's movements involve muscles that work together. The human wrist has more than one muscle available to flex it, and the palmaris longus' contribution to wrist flexion is fairly minor. However, recent studies suggest this much maligned muscle may actually contribute more than it has been given credit for. A 2012 study published in the journal Physiotherapy reports that high-performance athletes in sports requiring a strong grip were substantially more likely to have a palmaris longus than athletes performing at a lower level. And sports requiring a sustained grip were statistically more likely to have participants who had a palmaris longus, whether at the amateur or professional level.

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