The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

There is no proof of vestigial parts, that have been found, so far.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/26/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 882 times Debate No: 72418
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Definition of Vestigial Parts (for the sake of this argument): Any human body part not beneficial anymore. Good luck :)


I accept.

I look forward to seeing pro prove the benefits of some of the most commonly thought to be vestigial human parts.
For some reason I feel like the burden is on me, even though Pro is making the claim. Either way, I will start by listing several parts of the human body that do not seem to grant any benefits.
It should go without saying that In order for me to win this debate all I must do is prove the human body poses at least one "vestigial part".

Wisdom teeth: At you point in history, our ancestors needed these third molars to help break down their tough diet of roots, nuts, and leaves. Today, a humans diet consists of a much softer foods which are more easy to chew. It is believed that our jaws have shrunken due to this. As a consequence, our mouths don't have enough room to fit in the third set of molars. This can cause teeth shifting, gum recession, or even influence spreading an infection in the mouth. [1]. It is believed that 35% of the population is born without wisdom teeth, and that some day they will disappear completely from the human body [2].These teeth are not only useless, but also a harm.

Auricular Muscles: These are the muscles that are located surrounding the ear. In some animals they are used to help swivel the ears toward the direction of a sound [3], but humans no longer seem to poses this function.

The Cecum: It is a intraperitoneal pouch located at the front of the large intestine. In herbivores, the cecum stores plant material where bacteria are able to break down the cellulose. This function no longer occurs in the human cecum so in humans it is simply a dead-end pouch forming a part of the large intestine [4].

Male nipples: Men do not lactate. So there is no purpose for men having nipples. Granted there have been rare cases of this being found, this is not the norm.

If these get toppled down I will throw a few more back up.

Best of luck to Pro.

Debate Round No. 1


Con is correct in saying that he must prove that the human body has at least one vestigial part to win the debate.

As for wisdom teeth: First off, I would like to say that not everyone has their wisdom teeth taken out. I, personally have not had mine taken out. These teeth are not vestigial, because they are still used for chewing. The reason for them being taken out is not because they are useless, it is because of lack of space in the mouth of certain people, which is actually an effect of the human race devolving (I am a young-earth creationist). Evolution states that we are improving as time goes on. Because of all the growth hormones in food and less chewing that certain people do, that single person's jaw muscles grow smaller. Like what happens when a body-builder stops working out. People in certain parts of the world that eat a more raw diet use their jaw muscles more and do not have their wisdom teeth taken out. This is not an evolutionary thing its an environmental thing, specific to an individual, not the human race.

As for auricular muscles: If 'Darwin's Point' is what you are taking about, then this exists in about 10% of humans. This is genetic variation, or natural variation if you want to call it that. It could even be assumed that this is a genetic degeneration. Claiming that this is a vestigial part is simply twisting genetics. Darwin's Point is like a widow's peak, or freckles.

As for the Cecum: The cecum is part of our appendix, which I'm sure we all agree is NOT vestigial. (If Con disagrees I will explain in next round)

Finally, male nipples: Okay, stay with me here :) To suggest that the male nipples are vestigial, then in the past men must have used nipples. This is literally suggesting that in the past either men were women, or men were able to breast-feed babies in the past. If this were possibly true then we would actually be devolving, because again, evolution is all about making additions, and improvements to the human race. I looked around a little bit about possible uses for male nipples and found some weird theories, but I have decided to let you look into that for yourself. A little reminder: We have no gender in the womb so nipples develop before we develop a gender.

I look forward to hearing from Con :)


Thanks Pro

It should be noted by Pro that he set this debate up to discuss " human body part(s) (that are) not beneficial anymore." So, for this debate he must refute that the vestigial parts I list are still useful as of today. Additionally, evolution itself is irrelevant to this debate. The purposes of these parts must be wholly demonstrated with empirical evidence. If evolution happens to provide us with this evidence, so be it.

Wisdom teeth: Con argues that not everyone (aka the exceptions) needs there wisdom teeth removed. However this alone is a concession to the fact that wisdom teeth do not serve a benefit anymore, why else would we remove them? To shine some light on the number of people who actually end up removing them, due to one of the detrimental effects i mentioned earlier, I will cite this source.
""It"s hard to get a percentage, but probably 75 to 80 percent of people do not meet the criteria of being able to successfully maintain their wisdom teeth," said Dr. Louis K. Rafetto of Wilmington, Del., who headed the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons" task force on wisdom teeth."[1]
Even if Pro wants to argue that you can chew with them anyways and just ignore the possible effects, it doesn't reconcile the fact that the majority of people are harmed by wisdom teeth. The fact that they are disappearing is evidence the body no longer needs them. Pro only offers that "its an environmental thing" to account for them disappearing, but offers no evidence for such a claim.

Auricular Muscles: Pro straw-mans my argument here, considering I am not discussing the shape of our ears points, but the muscles surrounding the inside of the ear.

The Cecum: I am not discussing the appendix. The Cecum connects to the appendix, and this intraperitoneal pouch is no longer beneficial, as I stated it no longer produces bacteria to break down cellulose, we don't need to break down large amounts of cellulose to begin with. The only thing that happens to the cecum now is cancer.
"Unfortunately, the majority of cecum cancer symptoms are late " meaning the disease is already very advanced by the time you feel these symptoms that may include:
Gas and bloating
Fatigue " becoming tired easily
Abdominal pain
Weight loss
Nausea and vomiting (large tumors in the right side of your colon can cause food to "back up")
Anemia" [2]

Pro has has a long way to go in proving the cecum is beneficial to humans still.

Male nipples: It is your burden to prove to me that male nipples are beneficial. I am not going to do your homework for you. You have yet to show any use for male nipples and only stipulate at a theory you don't believe, in to hopefully prove at one point they may have been needed. Which again, is not a sufficient argument since were talking about their purpose as of today.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 2


E-L-L-E-N forfeited this round.


Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Discipulus_Didicit 2 years ago
35% of the population is born without wisdom teeth? And here I thought I was special =/
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 2 years ago
Supposedly if a male's nipple is massage enough it lactates. I found conflicting sources on this so I really don't know. Of course I really don't want to know. There are many things that I don't want to know but I do, one of them deals with ducks.
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
This debate is about humans
Posted by Radijs 2 years ago
Not sure if I'm allowed to add a point to debate in the comments but here goes.

Quickly scanning Wikipedia I've found that the baleen whale has vestigial legs.

Marked with the letter C it shows the rather small leg bones of the animal wich it can't use at all.
Posted by Death23 2 years ago
The definition is too broad because it could arguably encompass non-standard (i.e. mutations, congenital deformities) human body parts, and other examples people could come up with that would depart too far from the encyclopedic concept of vestigiality.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
I will not snipe this, but dictionary definitions tend to work best. Right now I can name several people who as a whole fit your definition (yes, I am evil).
Posted by E-L-L-E-N 2 years ago
Death23: How so? Any suggestions for improvement? :)
dsjpk5: Sure you can have your tonsils, and appendix removed, and still live a relatively healthy life, although they are absolutely beneficial to your health. As for the tonsils, they work in the immune system, preventing disease. People who have a tonsillectomy (having your tonsils removed) are four times more likely to develop Hodgkin's disease. The Appendix, on the other hand is used in your digestive system, and makes a spot for good bacteria in your gut :) Any others?
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
Tonsils, appendix?
Posted by Death23 2 years ago
The definition for vestigal part is too broad.
Posted by E-L-L-E-N 2 years ago
This is true. Thanks. I changed the topic to, "There is no proof of vestigial parts, that have been found, so far." :)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con. S and G was tied. Arguments: Con made a good case concerning male nipples. Pro didn't really argue they have a purpose. He only suggested they used to. Sources: Only Con has sources.