15 Useless Body Parts You Could Totally Live Without
There’s no doubt about it — your body goes through some pretty amazing processes every single day to keep you alive. Your heart beats steadily without you having to think about it. Your lungs take in oxygen with little effort. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — The Independent reminds us just how important certain body parts are. Without your pinky finger, you’d lose 50% of the strength in your hand. And your stomach acid is strong enough to dissolve metal (and certainly that cheeseburger you had for lunch).
But have you ever considered the parts of your body that are pretty useless? From your internal organs to your extremities, there’s a lot going on that you really don’t need. If you removed these 15, you’d be totally fine.
1. Extra eye membrane
You might not know this one by its formal name, but you look at it every day. Encyclopedia Britannica explains the plica semilunaris is kind of similar to the third eyelid in other animals. It’s that thin, pink membrane right in the corner of your eye. So, what’s the point of it? Scientists think it originally formed in order to help keep your eye moist and clean, or maybe to help conceal your iris from predators in the wild. Whatever the case might have been, it’s really not necessary anymore.
Next: We all have this all over our bodies.
2. Body hair
Compared to a lot of other animals in the wild, humans are pretty hairless — but many of us still make an effort to shave certain areas of our bodies. Live Science explains we originally used hair to help detect parasites. There’s also a good chance the ladies preferred a bug-free man, which gave hairier guys a leg-up in the ancient dating game.
Now that we’re in modern times, we have better methods of detecting parasites, so the body hair isn’t as necessary. The article does suggest, though, that those with more body hair today may have an easier time detecting bedbugs. Maybe you should put away the razor after all.
Next: You might have had surgery on this body part already.
3. Wisdom teeth
Most of us end up getting our wisdom teeth out at some point or another (if we’re unlucky enough to have them), so what’s the point of them even growing in the first place? Everyday Health explains humans needed an extra row of teeth to chow down on our ancient diets of uncooked meats and tough roots. But now that our jaws and faces have reduced in size over the last 20,000 years and we’ve learned the wonders of the stove, these molars typically cause more harm than good. If you don’t get these teeth removed, be prepared to step up your brushing game — food tends to get trapped back there.
Next: There are parts of your ears you don’t really need, too.
4. Auricular muscles
We all have that one friend who can supposedly wiggle their ears. Though it looks like the ear itself is moving, that’s actually not quite what’s happening — it’s the muscles surrounding the outer ear that move, says UC San Diego Health. For animals with ears that swivel, these auricular muscles help with that movement. In humans, however, there’s no point — and most of us can’t use them anyway.
Next: If this body part bursts, you have to get it removed immediately.
Appendicitis is no joke. WebMD reminds us this medical emergency occurs when your appendix becomes inflamed, and can burst if left untreated. The protocol for this type of situation is just to remove the organ altogether, so evidently, it’s not really pivotal to your survival. Still, there is some evidence to suggest it might help out with your gut health, though that’s still up for debate. Either way, you can totally live without it.
Next: This part of your nose is pretty much useless.
6. Jacobson’s organ
In rodents and other mammals, there’s a reason for Jacobson’s organ, a sensory system that’s typically found in the nasal lining or the roof of the mouth. Animals use these structures to pick up on the gender or sexual behavior of other wildlife, New Scientist reports, which is crucial for mating. Most people have their own Jacobson’s organ in their nose, but scientists generally agree it doesn’t have much of a purpose. Neuroscientist Michael Meredith tells the publication there are no nerve fibers connecting the organ to the brain, so it’s pretty much useless.
Next: This organ helps your digestive system, but you can make do without it.
OK, so your gallbladder still has a purpose. Everyday Health notes this organ helps release bile into your small intestine to break down fatty foods — it’s kind of like your body’s bile storage unit. When you remove your gallbladder, you don’t have that reservoir, which means there’s a constant flow of bile instead of any being stored. This theoretically can mess with your digestion. But here’s the thing — many animals don’t have a gallbladder, and a lot of humans get theirs removed for medical reasons and do just fine. Do you want to have this organ removed? Probably not. Would you survive without it? Absolutely.
Next: Excessive sore throats? Feel free to ditch this body part.
For some, these fleshy glands at the back of the throat are actually helpful in protecting against infections. Others, however, experience trouble when their tonsils trap too much bacteria. This can lead to excessive sore throats or even breathing problems, in which case they can be removed, MedlinePlus explains. A lot of people experience fewer infections and throat issues after this organ is gone, so going without your tonsils is not an issue.
Next: You’d look pretty funny without these, but they don’t serve too much of a purpose.
You have to admit — you’d look pretty funny without your eyebrows. And these little sections of hair do actually have some purpose, Mental Floss says. The shape of them helps shield your eyeballs from moisture and debris. Developmentally speaking, this was probably a really important feature for living in the wild. Nowadays, however, you can pluck them, tattoo them, or shave them completely — it really doesn’t matter. Just keep in mind you’re way better at expressing emotion when you have eyebrows to help you out. They’re essential in conveying your feelings and also helping your friends identify you from a distance.
Next: You might not have been born with this muscle anyway.
10. Palmaris muscle
You probably have this muscle, but there’s also a decent chance you might not. The palmaris muscle is long and thin, and it goes from your elbow down to your wrist. Discover Magazine says scientists think we probably used this muscle to help us hang from trees and climb. Today, it might help you with wrist function, but it doesn’t really have much of a purpose beyond this. And a study performed by the Ulster Medical Society found 49 people out of 300 were missing one palmaris muscle, and 26 people were missing both. Clearly, you can do just fine without it.
Next: If you’ve ever bruised this part of your body, you probably wished you didn’t have it.
Remember your first time skiing, skateboarding, or rollerblading? When you landed flat on your rear end and couldn’t sit right for days, you most likely injured your tailbone. Spine-health says your tailbone is actually an arrangement of multiple bones that sit right at the bottom of your spine. So, why don’t you need this body part anymore? You guessed it — we no longer have anything related to a tail. Your tailbone isn’t totally useless, though — it helps the pelvis function normally and gives you balance when you’re sitting. Other than that, it doesn’t serve much of a purpose.
Next: This bodily response isn’t really helping you out.
Goosebumps aren’t necessarily a body part, but they’re still a weird biological feature with no point. Scientific American explains goosebumps happen when the mini muscles around each of your body hairs contract, they create a depression on the skin’s surface and cause the hair to stand up. You’ve probably had this happen if you’ve ever jumped in a freezing cold pool or if you’ve been nervous before making a speech — adrenaline can trigger this reaction to occur. In animals, they really do serve a purpose. Goosebumps can help them retain heat in the cold. We don’t have enough hair for that to matter, however.
Next: Men, these serve you no purpose.
13. Male nipples
Not to be obvious, but the reason behind this body part making the list is pretty clear. Men really have no use for nipples, so why are they born with them in the first place? Verywell reminds us when in the womb, all embryos start as females, causing men to develop them. While they have no functional use, it’s important to remember men do still have breast tissue, which means they can develop cancer in the area. In some cases, if a man’s hormones are affected, he can produce breast milk as well.
Next: You look at this every day — and yet, you don’t need it.
Ever wonder what the groove between your nose and mouth is for? That’s your philtrum — it’s a small depression surrounded with ridges you’ve probably never thought much about. While you really have no use for it now, Medical Daily explains scientists have finally figured out why it’s there in the first place. This is where the face connects in the womb. You need the indentation so your face can develop evenly. If your face fails to fuse symmetrically on both sides as you’re developing, this is how a cleft palate forms. After you’re born, though, your philtrum serves absolutely no purpose.
Next: You use this body part all the time, but if you were to remove it, you’d be totally functional.
15. Pinky toe
You use it every single day, but you’ll be surprised to know you’d be just fine without your pinky toe. Dr. Anish Kadakia tells Popular Science we have toes because the primates we descended from used their feet for grabbing and climbing, but we clearly no longer need them for this purpose — and this is especially true for the smallest toe of the bunch. You do, however, need the five long bones that connect your toes to the middle of your foot. These are kind of like knuckles, and without them, you’d have a hard time doing pretty much anything on your feet.