This ‘Pointless’ Bone Vanished From Humans. Now It’s Back

Scientists thought evolution had taken its toll on knee’s fabella, but it’s making a comeback
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

(NEWSER) – One hundred years ago, just 11% of humans had a fabella, a tiny bone embedded in the tendon behind the knee. Last year, the percentage of people worldwide with that bone spiked to 39%, and scientists are trying to figure out why a bone that doctors generally think is “pointless” hasn’t fallen by the evolutionary wayside, per the BBC. In their study published in the Journal of Anatomy, scientists from Imperial College London note not only the oddly increasing prevalence of the fabella (Latin for “little bean”), but also the fact that those who have knee problems are more likely to have one: Individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee, for example, are twice as likely to boast a fabella. Per The Scientist, researchers looked at X-rays, MRIs, and dissections from 21,000-plus knee studies over the past 150 years, and within the last century, the chances of people having a fabella increased threefold.