Claw-like hands, smaller brains, and 90-degree elbows? It sounds as ridiculous as it looks, but these researchers suggest it’s possible
CERRITOS, Calif. — Hunched back, clawed-hands, and second eyelids could be common features of human anatomy in the future, a recent computer model reveals. The shocking, hopefully tongue-in-cheek report warns that overusing technology could somehow steer human evolution in a direction that leaves people looking deformed compared to what we consider normal today.
There’s no question technology now plays a constant role in the lives of many people, but what is all that screen time really doing to the human body? Researchers worked with a 3D designer to create images of a “future human” that accounts for all of the problems long-term tech use may cause. Though StudyFinds takes a neutral stand on the content we post and leaves it to our readers to debate or debunk, we certainly can’t help but raise an eyelid…or two…on these images. After all, how could this creature be the result of natural selection?
Specifically, they were inspired by a poll that found the typical American uses the Internet for seven hours a day. With that in mind, the team factored in a wide range of scientific studies and expert opinions examining the physical and mental changes that come from consistent exposure to smartphones, laptops, and television. The results were shocking.
The research project, commissioned by TollFreeForwarding.com (yes, really), led to the development of the 3D model, named “Mindy.” Researchers predict that office work and craning the neck to look at smartphones will lead to humans having a hunched back in the future. Currently, many people consistently adjust their position to look down at their phones, or to look up at their office screens. Studies show that this strains parts of the body that affect posture.
“Spending hours looking down at your phone strains your neck and throws your spine off balance. Consequently, the muscles in your neck have to expend extra effort to support your head. Sitting in front of the computer at the office for hours on end also means that your torso is pulled out in front of your hips rather than being stacked straight and aligned,” says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, in a statement from TollFreeForwarding.
Text claw and elbow problems
One of the most noticeable changes is the development of “text claw,” a new term that describes how the hand starts to permanently take the shape of a claw due to constantly holding a smartphone. Future humans may also evolve to have a 90-degree elbow thanks to the excessive use of cell phones to make calls. This condition would leave the elbow permanently bent at a 90-degree angle.
“The way we hold our phones can cause strain in certain points of contact – causing ‘text claw’ and ’90-degree elbow’ also known as the cubital tunnel syndrome,” says Dr. Nikola Djordjevic from Med Alert Help. “This syndrome is caused by pressure or the stretching of the ulnar nerve which runs in a groove on the inner side of the elbow. This causes numbness or a tingling sensation in the ring and little fingers, forearm pain, and weakness in the hands – keeping the elbow bent for a long time.”
Will humans grow a second eyelid?
Interestingly, the model of Mindy predicts that humans may end up developing a unique defense against too much blue light from digital devices — a second eyelid.
Previous studies have found that blue light exposure can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and other health problems. Excessive screen time can also lead to headaches, eye strains, and even poorer vision — especially among children.
“Humans may develop a larger inner eyelid to prevent exposure to excessive light, or the lens of the eye may be evolutionary developed such that it blocks incoming blue light but not other high wavelength lights like green, yellow or red,” says Kasun Ratnayake from the University of Toledo.
Tech neck and smaller brains
Finally, “Mindy” reveals that future humans will likely suffer from a serious case of “tech neck,” where the muscles grow to limit the damage due to poor posture. Moreover, Mindy’s skull is thicker to help protect the human body from damaging radiofrequency waves allegedly coming from smartphones.
Studies show that a sedentary lifestyle can reduce human brain capacity. With that in mind, Mindy also has a smaller brain than present-day humans. Additionally, all of these can lead to future humans being more vulnerable to mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, according to the researchers.
“Technology gives us so much. Convenience, connectivity, entertainment, and so much more – but there is a trade-off. Overexposure to technology can sometimes come to the detriment of our health, and Mindy is our visual representation of a growing body of scientific research,” says Jason O’Brien, COO of TollFreeForwarding.com. “While the benefits of technology to individuals and businesses are too great to ignore, it’s worth evaluating your usage to ensure your health isn’t being damaged in the long-term.”
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