Is this list really the top 10 signs of evolution in humans?

Listverse has a list called “The top 10 signs of evolution in modern man.”

It’s a decent, well-intentioned list, but is it really the “top 10?”  What about DNA?  Shouldn’t our relationships to other creatures as demonstrated by DNA make at least the top 10 list?

Here’s the list:

10.  Goose bumps
9.  Jacobson’s Organ
8.  Junk DNA
7.  Extra ear muscles
6.  Plantaris muscle
5.  Wisdom teeth
4.  Third eyelid
3.  Darwin’s point
2.  Coccyx
1.  Appendix

I think there are some difficulties with the list, too.  There are minor problems, such as calling vestigial DNA “Junk DNA” when we know much of it still functions.  And there are major problems, like missing the ancestry aspects of DNA.  The appendix is known to play roles in the immune system, so some of the claims appear dated.

But I still wonder:   Are these the real top 10? How about our inablity to manufacture vitamin C?   How about the vagus nerve’s loop from the head down to the heart and back up?

What do you think, Dear Reader?  If we make a list of the top 10 signs of evolution in modern humans, what goes on that list?  Please include links in your post, if you have them (the spam filter will kick in at five links, so let me know if you’ve got more than five).

And, is there any value to such a list?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Gnomestrath.


4 Responses to Is this list really the top 10 signs of evolution in humans?

  1. Ediacaran says:

    Ed, the video at the link I originally posted is an excerpt from NOVA: “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial”. I should have referred to the official PBS site, but their link system is a little goofy. Try the following PBS links for Quicktime and RealPlayer versions, respectively, for the excerpt:

    The credits listed at the site:
    “Credits: © 2007 WGBH Educational Foundation and Clear Blue Sky Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.”

    If that doesn’t work, try a search on the page

    Be sure to narrow the search to videos, and look for the excerpt entitled “Human Chromosome”


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    What program does that clip come from, Ediacaran? Do you know?


  3. Ediacaran says:

    Yet another video on the fusion of chromosome 2 fusion in humans:


  4. Ediacaran says:

    Thanks, Ed. The link’s discussion of “junk DNA” IS referring to the disabling of the gene responsible for the precursor of vitamin C in simians (including us), so that’s covered already.

    I would include the conclusive evidence of our chromosome 2 sequence that shows it resulted from a fusion of 2 separate chromosomes, leaving humans with 23 pairs of chromosomes as compared to 24 pairs in our closest ape relatives (chimps, gorillas and orangutans). Biology professor Ken Miller does a good job summarizing the evidence at and the ENSI lesson plans and powerpoint slides provide further details at (more presentations at

    I’d also include those endogenous retroviruses that we share only with our closest non-human evolutionary cousins as one of the signs.

    I would certainly mention the mitochondria in our cells, since their endosymbiotic origin substantiates that eukaryotes like us evolved from single-celled ancestors. See


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