Wisdom Teeth – Evidence for Evolution?

Most people know wisdom teeth as those back molars that have to be taken out during high school or college. Whether you happen to be one of the few blessed people that never got any, whether they came in straight or whether you had them extracted, those old enough can all relate to them on some level. Personally, mine came in straight, and I never had any problems, but I have removed dozens of wisdom teeth on patients.

Why do we humans have so many problems with wisdom teeth? And does this imply a poor design by the Creator? In mainstream scientific thinking, wisdom teeth in humans are regarded as nothing more than unnecessary, evolutionary leftovers, useless remnants of mutation and natural selection. The term vestigial organs is a term commonly applied to wisdom teeth, which, in a subtle way, connotes these evolutionary sentiments. In a 2016 Scientific American article, the argument is stated like this:

Vestigial structures are signs of evolutionary history. The Cretaceous snake Pachyrhachis problematicus had small hind limbs, which are gone in most of today’s snakes. Modern whales retain a tiny pelvis for hind legs that existed in their land-mammal ancestors. . . . And, of course, humans are replete with useless vestigial structures—a distinctive sign of our evolutionary ancestry—such as wisdom teeth, male nipples, body hair, the appendix and the coccyx.

As can be plainly seen, wisdom teeth are still thought of and touted as vestigial structures and as evidence for evolution. But is this actually the case?


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By James R Treel DDS

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