The human body is quite amazing.
But some bodies are, shall we say, more incredible than others. Your genetics can give you a superpower, even if it’s a really, really stupid superpower. You would like to know something like that, right?
Of course you would. There is nothing cooler than having an unnecessary ability. We’re talking about stuff like …
1. Some people really don’t need to get much sleep.
If you are lucky enough to have a specific variant of the BHLHE41 gene, you may be genetically resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation.
To put it another way, you can sleep less than most people while still getting all the benefits of a full night’s sleep.
People with this condition are called Small Natural Family Sleepers (FNSS), and they sleep about two hours less per night than the average person (so six hours instead of eight).
Many famous people, including Margaret Thatcher, are said to have “suffered” from this unusual condition.
2. Tibetans are in fact genetically mutated for high altitudes.
Tibetan Sherpas are renowned for their ability to survive at high altitudes. They are very much aware of what it takes to survive at an elevation like Mount Everest, but recent research suggests they have helped evolution a bit.
The researchers tested 50 Tibetans, as well as 40 Han Chinese (Tibetans separated from the Han Chinese lineage around 2,750 years ago).
They found that 34 of the Tibetans had different genes than the Han Chinese. In addition, one of these genes “encodes a protein involved in the response to lowered oxygen levels and is associated with improved athletic performance in endurance athletes.” according to The Guardian.
One of the most amazing parts of the story is that the mutation seems to have become common less than 3000 years after populations diverged. This makes it one of the fastest evolutionary mutations ever recorded in humans.
3. Some people have a second row of eyelashes.
Many people consider long, full eyelashes to be quite desirable, but who knew that there was actually one flaw that could be causing it? Watch the video below to learn more about distichiasis – and which famous character had it.
4. The palmaris longus is a fascinating evolutionary vestige.
You can tell if you have this tendon by pressing your thumb and pinky together and looking at your wrist. If you see a big tendon coming out, congratulations, it’s your palmaris longus.
Aside from being a great band name, the palmaris longus has no real meaning. We think of be a remnant of a tendon that we used to climb trees earlier in our evolution.
If you have this structure, there is good news: if you ever need a wrist tendon transplant, this is the tendon they will use. It does not affect grip strength in any way, so it is a purely unnecessary part of your body. Still, around 14% of people don’t have it, although this percentage varies widely depending on your lineage.
5. You may be able to see more colors than most people (but probably not).
Your eye probably has three cones, which are structures that allow the eye to collect information about color and transmit it to the brain.
If you are color blind you only have two cones and as a result you see less difference between some similar colors.
But some people are born with more. Tetrachromats have four cones in their eyes, which allows them to see 100 million distinct colors. could you be one of them? Test your color perception with this quiz:
Scientists have a hard time finding tetrachromats because these people rarely realize that they are different. As a result, they may never “train” their eyes to look for the additional colors, making it difficult for them to see them (vision is a bit complicated). however, Popular science was able to find Concetta Antico, an artist believed to be tetrachromatic.
So, what’s it like to have this gift?
“I am shocked at how little color people see,” she said. “You might see dark green, but I’ll see purple, turquoise, blue. It’s like a mosaic of colors. “
6. One of the most striking anomalies is dislocation of the globe.
Literally. Dislocation of the globe is a rare condition in which your eyes can pop out of your head.
There is no real benefit to this (although you can probably make a very, very good impression of the truck driver of The great adventure of Pee-Wee. It’s mostly a party trick that could damage your eyes if you’re not careful.
It’s not all fun and games though. One study notes that common causes of the disease include “ocular thyroid disease, shallow eye socket, and soft eyelid syndrome.”
Once you are done chuckling at the wonderful English phrase which is “soft eyelid syndrome”, unfortunately we will inform you that dislocation of the globe can also be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. With that in mind, if you have this condition, you should probably see your doctor.
7. The perfect presentation is certainly not common, and there is debate as to whether it is a natural gift.
Perfect pitch is the ability to identify and differentiate musical notes based on specific frequencies. In other words, you can hear a C # and correctly identify it as C #.
If you’re not a musician, you might expect this to be a fairly common ability, but it’s incredibly rare. Less than 1 in 10,000 people have a perfect tone, and there has been significant scientific debate as to whether this is a natural ability.
For a long time, researchers believed that humans were born with perfect height or that they should develop it at a very young age. Past a certain point, if you don’t have it, you won’t get it back.
But recent research indicates that adults can develop a perfect pitch. This means that with enough practice and persistence, you too can immediately identify the key to your favorite Justin Bieber song.
8. You almost certainly don’t have an outer navel.
You’re an “innie” or an “outie”, and unless you’ve heard it differently, you’ve probably assumed it was a 50/50 mix. This is not quite the case; one study found that only 4 percent of adults have an exit. This percentage is significantly higher in children (for reasons we’ll cover in a moment).
You might also have assumed that the shape and size of your belly button depended on how your doctor cut your umbilical cord, but that’s not really the case. Most outies are caused by an umbilical hernia.
Basically your inner parts push through your outer parts, but that’s not that bad – after all, your umbilical cord is sort of the best possible place for a hernia to happen.
Even so, doctors could eventually decide to close larger umbilical hernias. Most of these hernias will close on their own by the time the child turns 5 years old.