What if hearts and lungs never grew big enough to allow the heights that we normally attain? What if we only grew to 2 inches tall? How would we get our food if carrots were bigger than we were? Why does it seem that we are perfectly in proportion to our environment to enjoy it and yet not be dominated by it? What functions of evolution allowed this to happen?
What if our respiratory system couldn’t heat cold outdoor air to the necessary temperature to prevent internal freezing or damage? Why is it able to filter out unnecessary moisture or add it when air is too dry? When did it develop these necessary abilities?
Why do our kidneys filter the necessary toxins out of our blood? When did it go from 5% capable to 50% to 100%? How did we manage to hunt food, feed and care for ourselves thousands of years ago if we were so incredibly sick all the time?
What if our bodies weren’t able to recycle the 40,000 glasses of water that it uses per day? What would life be like if we had to spend all day replenishing that liquid?
What if our large intestines didn’t absorb just the right amount of water from the waste it is producing? What if we had totally impassible waste or the opposite and all bowel movements were always diarrhea? What if it couldn’t recognize toxins and know to create diarrhea, which is one of our bodies’ ways of quickly ridding itself of dangerous substances? Worse yet, what if it recognized them but was simply unable to create diarrhea? How much longer would it take to recover each time we were sick? What if the digestive system simply ended with a hole instead of a sphincter muscle, which keeps matter inside until the desired time? When did the body develop these things and why?
What if the body was not able to completely reverse the normal direction of the digestive tract to make the stomach eliminate its’ contents? Why did we develop this ability instead of us just staying sick much longer? Why does this seem like a function designed to minimize the discomfort of exposure to germs and toxins? When did the body learn to recognize which germs and toxins are dangerous and need to be removed?
Why is the vomit center in our brain calibrated just right? When something goes wrong with this center people can have uncontrollable vomiting when the body isn’t even sick. Why don’t we dry heave all the time? Would it interfere with our foraging abilities?
How did nature make all these incredible changes? There are so many systems within systems, processes running substances being produced and levels being monitored that the chances that evolution explaining the complexities of any one part of the body much less the whole interdependent, finely tuned symphony that the body continually plays becomes astronomical.
Stay tuned for more installments of the What Ifs!