Feeds

What's the best way to improve the human body?

Bodily upgrade

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

We humans would look considerably different - both inside and out - if evolution had designed the human body to work better and last longer.

Dr S Jay Olshansky of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois in Chicago and two other researchers recently speculated in Scientific American that a human "better designed for old age" might possess the following features:

  • Shorter stature would provide a lower center of gravity which would perhaps help to prevent falls that often plague the elderly.
  • More ribs could help prevent hernias and other problems of holding organs in place more effectively.
  • Thicker bones would protect against breakage during falls.
  • Knees able to bend backwards would make the bones less likely to grind and deteriorate.
  • A forward-tilting upper torso would relieve pressure on the vertebrae, thus lowering the risk of ruptured disks.
  • A curved neck with enlarged vertebrae would counterbalance the tilted torso and enable the head to stay up and forward.
  • Thicker disks would resist pressure on the back.
  • Extra muscles and fat would add weight on the bones, which would help counter the effects of osteoporosis (demineralisation of bones).
  • Leg veins with more "check valves" would combat the development of varicose veins.
  • Larger hamstrings and tendons would help support the leg and hip, thus reducing the need for knee and hip replacement surgery.
  • The optic nerve attached to the back of the retina might stabilise the retina's connection to the back of the eye, thus helping to prevent retinal detachment.
  • A raised trachea would better help food and drink bypass the windpipe and reduce choking.
  • An enlarged, mobile outer ear would better collect sound with greater efficiency to compensate for internal ear breakdowns.
  • More plentiful and durable hair cells in the ear would help preserve hearing late in life.

With all of these changes our bodies would be better constructed, but wouldn’t win any beauty contests.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.