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Anatomical variations and evolution: re‐evaluating their importance for surgeons


Saniotis, Arthur; Henneberg, Maciej (2021). Anatomical variations and evolution: re‐evaluating their importance for surgeons. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 91(5):837-840.

Abstract

For several decades, anatomists and biological anthropologists have made an intensive study in anatomical variations in ancestral and living humans. While many anatomical variants do not require clinical attention, some may present diagnostic problems or augur adverse symptoms. It is only in the last few decades that a plausible argument has been made that anatomical changes in human individuals and lineages demonstrate ongoing microevolution. Since the mid‐19th century, there has been a reduction in differential mortality. Increased variation of heritable traits is a consequential outcome of relaxation of natural selection. Consequently, this has contributed to various anatomical variations in musculo‐skeletal anatomy, vascular anatomy as well as congenital disorders such as spina bifida occulta. The authors argue that surgeons and anatomists should improve their knowledge of evolution and its continuing influence on human morphology. Simply repeating the old mantra that anatomical variations are important because knowledge of them minimizes surgical complications, albeit important, is inadequate.

Abstract

For several decades, anatomists and biological anthropologists have made an intensive study in anatomical variations in ancestral and living humans. While many anatomical variants do not require clinical attention, some may present diagnostic problems or augur adverse symptoms. It is only in the last few decades that a plausible argument has been made that anatomical changes in human individuals and lineages demonstrate ongoing microevolution. Since the mid‐19th century, there has been a reduction in differential mortality. Increased variation of heritable traits is a consequential outcome of relaxation of natural selection. Consequently, this has contributed to various anatomical variations in musculo‐skeletal anatomy, vascular anatomy as well as congenital disorders such as spina bifida occulta. The authors argue that surgeons and anatomists should improve their knowledge of evolution and its continuing influence on human morphology. Simply repeating the old mantra that anatomical variations are important because knowledge of them minimizes surgical complications, albeit important, is inadequate.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Surgery, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 May 2021
Deposited On:18 Jan 2021 12:40
Last Modified:18 May 2021 01:05
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1445-1433
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ans.16429
PubMed ID:33368956

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