Homology

Do you know how evolutionarily old our teeth, fingers or big brains are? I wrote an article about homology for The Conversation, “We can still see these 5 traces of ancestor species in all human bodies today”.

As I explain in the article, in biological terms “homology” relates to “the similarity of a structure based on descent from a shared common ancestor. Think of the similarities of a human hand, a bat wing and a whale flipper. These all have specialist functions, but the underlying body plan of the bones remains the same”.

I then go on to list five features in human bodies today that have some surprisingly old evolutionary origins. Let me know if you have any favourites that I might have missed. I hope you enjoy the article.

“The principle of homology: The biological relationships (shown by colours) of the bones in the forelimbs of vertebrates.” Image: Волков Владислав Петрович, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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