With our nation's fearless leaders trying to push us into a war with Iran, a couple dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls trying to throw each other under the bus every day, and millions of Americans being ravaged on a daily basis by tornadoes, floods and other climate-change inspired severe weather, it's understandable if the vast majority of current events hounds missed one particular little news nugget last week:
We're growing a horn in our head.
SKOL Vikings, right?
Sorry, but no. This is but a single horn, not two like the helmets worn by our ancient Norsk warriors and Hagar the Horrible featured. And it's not protruding from the side of our skulls, either, it's in the back, in the neck region, right around where the spine connects with our skull. It's not a large horn by any means, and it curves downward, not up. It's more of a bone spur than anything, extending out from between the bones of the upper spine. But the fact that researchers (and, yes, sensationalist headline writers) who have noticed the growth with more regularity of late are choosing to call it a "head horn" should be at least an eyebrow-raiser, right?
The horn is showing up in young people's skulls more than any other demographic in our kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species, and some scientists in Australia have an hypothesis as to why that is: Young people spend so many hours of so many days with their heads facing downward as they continuously focus on small electronic screens held in their hands, that the human body is either putting out a cry for help or masterfully coming up with a remedy to bolster neck bones and muscles that are being increasingly strained by having to head that for the past generation-and-a-half or so is looking downward more than any other direction, and with each degree our heads face downward, the more strenuous it is to support.
Now, before we proceed any further, it bears mentioning that some fairly smart people – but, also, many of whom benefit most when the handheld digital electronics industry enjoys success – are saying this claim that kids using their phones all day is causing human neck and head bones to compensate by growing a bony protrusion, is 100% bogus.
But, still, come on. Can you think of any other plausible theory explaining a weird bone jutting out of our skulls?
It's worth noting that this isn't the first evolutionary-related development in the human body that scientists have detected that points to young humans' obsession with hand-held technology being the most likely culprit. Our opposable thumbs are showing minuscule signs of changing in such a way that optimizes the skills needed to tap keys furiously on small wireless phone keyboards. On this particular front, my wife has semi-jokingly accused me of cruelly compromising the optimum physical greatness of future generations of the Christopherson strain of Homo sapien, as she watches me gleefully insist on holding my phone vertically with my left hand as I type text messages with only the index finger on my right hand. I think I'm incredibly adept at my hunt-and-peck-using-a-sole-digit method of typing on my tiny keyboard, but more than anything else, I simply don't want want my great-great-great grandchildren to have to walk around with freakishly long and skinny, octuple-jointed thumbs.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t fear what might become of the evolved index fingers on the right hands of my descendants long into the future, if I continue with my current texting method. They might have to carry it in a sling.