Hymen, Appendix, and Wisdom Teeth

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Orleander, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Why do we have these?
    My sister-in-law had to have surgery to remove her hymen.
    When my brother swallowed a BB, it got stuck in his appendix and had to be removed.
    My husband had to have all 4 wisdom teeth removed while my son has none to begin with.
     
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  3. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    Many believe that wisdom teeth and the appendix are vestigial...that they had uses to our distant ancestors but the function was lost over time when it became unnecessary. Some dispute that with respect to the appendix, arguing that it still serves some role in the human immune response. (Of course some dispute that there is such a thing as a "vestigial" organ, since they dispute that we had non-human ancestors, or that an organ might degrade into non-functionality over time).

    The hymen....no one knows. It appears to be useless, but it appears to be useless in a wide variety of mammals. Because it's a common feature with other not so closely related species, it's not "vestigial," but no one has yet figured out why we as a species still have it. I once read the speculation that it was there to make virgins think twice about having sex the first time--to make them more choosy in a first mate (since the first experience might be uncomfortable, they might as well wait until they find someone they really like and who is likely to stay with then if they get pregnant). This theory sounds plausible, but it's not entirely clear then why less picky species that do not pair bond have hymen as well (like, say, horses or certain types of whales).

    I've also read that it provided an advantage in humans because it allowed our parentage obsessed ancestors to be certain they were marring virgins (and hence that any children she bears are likely to be the offspring of the husband). This theory is almost certainly wrong, since you can't reliably verify virginity from looking at the hymen in every case. (Still, if our ancient ancestors persistently believed it were true, women with hymens might have ha d a survival advantage). Again though, it still doesn't explain why non-virgin seeking species, like horses, have them.

    Here's a new theory: God designed us all, but He is a terrible engineer and threw a lot of unnecessary code into our DNA. Stupid God.

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  5. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I know wisdom teeth are disappearing in people since many are born without some or all of them.
    I have also read that not everyone is born with an appendix.
    But I haven't read the same about a hymen. If women started being born without one, wouldn't that have an impact on most religions?
     
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  7. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    Isn't the hymen something primitive to do with keeping disease out in some way? Might want to look that up.
    As I recall the appendix is similar and to do with the immune system, possibly also becoming more redundant with medical advancement.
    As for wisdom teeth I have no idea.
    At least I've given you two lines of enquiry to look up.

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  8. valich Registered Senior Member

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    We do not know why there is a hymen, but your hypothesis of keeping disease out certain deserves merit. The appendix, although still having a very minor contributory function, is considered to be a vestigial organ, as we can easily compare the evolutionary trend with other mammals.
     
  9. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I can't remember where I heard it, I'll do a little research into it later on when I have some time.
    Quite right, It'd be interesting to know more of its original function though; Expanding on the immune system theory it isn't perhaps to do with raw meat consumption? As obviously a long time ago in our evolutionary past we would have consumed raw meat and so would require a far better immune system.
     
  10. John99 Banned Banned

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  11. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    Why didn't you include the foreskin in that list, Orleander? Plenty of people seem to think that is useless too.
     
  12. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Because I have/had wisdom teeth, appendix, and a hymen, so those are the ones I asked about.


    I'm not sure about the hymen keeping disease out. But I can see where the appendix may have caught imputities and infection. After all, it caught the BB my brother swallowed.

    Did we used to have bigger mouths so that the wisdom teeth fit?
     
  13. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    I myself have wondered about the wisdom teef. I had all four of mine removed when I was 18. All I was told is that if they are left in, they can bunch the rest of your teeth together and cause misalignment. I didn't want that.
    And IIRC, doesn't the appendix contain some sort of bacteria that helps us digest food or something?
     
  14. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    *************
    M*W: I've seen the surgery performed for an intact hymen. It's simple but sometimes needs to be done. Sex would be painful if the hymen was too think.

    Funny you should mention BBs. I had a conversation yesterday about a kid ingesting a BB. I told the mother not to worry, that it would come out. But I do know that sometimes those little objects kids swallow can also end up lodged anywhere in the digestive tract.

    The disappearance of wisdom teeth is a sign that we are evolving. I only had three!
     
  15. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    evolving? Does that mean I can't tell my son he's a mutant anymore???
     
  16. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    M*W: Well, of course you can still call him a mutant. That's a given. Actually, when you think about embryonic development, all male babies are mutants of what was originally a female baby. The male parent determines the baby's sex with his XY chromosomes (X-girl, Y-boy). Then at about the 10th gestational week, the mother's hormones surge (which they're surging during the whole pregnancy), and that helps to influence the the fetal urogenital sinus (the future genitals) to either remain female and develop as such or transmute the urogenital sinus to develop into male genitals. In other words, every conception body begins as a female, and due to the action of the XY-chromosomes, either the baby remains a female or mutates into a male.

    It gets more complicated when a baby boy is born with a penis, but prefers a female identity, and the same goes for a girl who senses that she isn't a girl at all, but a boy. This is called sexual identity crisis. I know you've read about it, because I can tell you are one smart cookie. I feel for these kids, because nature played a trick on them.
     
  17. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    Lol, I was born without one (you all wanted to know that).

    Possibly not - in some countries there is a custom of using animal blood to stain a sheet, so even if her hymen doesn't rupture they can save face by pretending it did.
     
  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    actually if the resurch i herd about recently is right the apendix is VERY important. The theory goes that we are causing cancers and other problems because we keep killing off the gut flora (with antibotics). Now if that resurch is right then the implication is that the apendix is important because everytime you get diahrea you lose all your gut flora and the apendix alows it to be repopulated.

    As for wisdom teath they were more important before we got dental hygine and managed to keep our teeth longer. They also would have fit alot better in a bigger jaw like that from the nethadathals.

    As for the hymine my GUESS would be its to keep amenotic fluid out of the babies birth cannel, because that path into the body doesnt have clear barriers the way all the others do, if it gets into the birth cannel it can flow up through the uterus and into the felopian tubes and then out into the abdominal cavity
     
  19. John99 Banned Banned

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    You think they are\may be disappearing.

    Or i wonder how you nkwo.
     
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    They are vanishing in my genetic line. My son had none, I have 2 (lowers only) , my daughter has 2 (lowers only).

    Her orthodontist said it was genetic. He also asked how many in my family have had them removed. My brother had to have his removed before he was shipped overseas in the military. Other than that, no one.
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Hymen - it's an artifact of how we develop sex organs. (We start out with all the same parts then just grow them to different sizes.) It's akin to a caul, which some children are born with but is easy to remove. It's not there because it's necessary after birth, it's just an artifact of having an amniotic sac.

    If it interfered with sex we'd quickly evolve it away. But it generally doesn't, so there's no remaining evolutionary pressure to remove it.

    Appendix - likely a vestigial cecum, needed when we ate more cellulose. Nowadays since we cook our food (and generally eat easier to digest food) it's not needed.

    Wisdom teeth - before oral hygeine, people's molars would rot out by age 30 or so. Wisdom teeth were "replacement" teeth for these. Of course, nowadays we foil that plan by brushing our teeth.
     
  22. John99 Banned Banned

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    I had all four wisdom teeth and they were impacted. Also, grew in horizontal, fully covered too.
     
  23. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    the hyman isn't solid. Menstrual blood flows through it, so I'm sure amniotic fluid has no barrier. And really? Amniotic fluid gets into the abdominal cavity?
     

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