Well here’s a headline that caught my eye:
SCIENTISTS DISCOVER NEW BODY PART
At first I found this very upsetting. After all, I think scientists have had ample time to discover all our body parts. What kind of slackers are these people anyway? They’re constantly sending me personal letters to help fund their research into this disease and that disease, and here they haven’t even found all our body parts?
I mean, what the hell? They’ve managed to map out our entire genome, but they missed that third arm hanging down our backs? Or maybe the new body part is that skin tag I’ve developed on my stomach. I’m not sure how the scientists would know about that, though. The NSA, maybe? And anyway, that wouldn’t really be newsworthy. (Creepy, yes. Newsworthy, no.)
Then I thought, what if it really is a new body part they’ve discovered? What if we’ve…evolved?
A new body part could be really exciting. What if scientists found a teenager who had two extra texting thumbs? Or perhaps our grandchildren could have additional abilities that would enable them to give our daughter even more agita than she gave us, just as my wife always wished.*
There was only one way I could get to the bottom of this. I endeavored to read the actual article instead of just stopping at the headline.
It turns out that the body part is an obscure layer of the eye that’s been there all along. Amazingly, we’ve managed to see without knowing about it.
It’s called Dua’s Layer because it was discovered by an ophthalmologist named Harminder Dua who should be part of a group that sings on street corners.
I’ll give you a moment…
Dua’s Layer is described as a “skinny but tough structure measuring just 15 microns thick.” That means it would take about 1,700 Dua’s to get an inch. In contrast, it would only take about three Dewer’s to get smashed.
Here’s the thing: I don’t see anything in the article that mentions what this layer does, other than cause problems for other parts of the eye. For instance, Dua thinks that a tear in his layer is what causes corneal hydrops, which occurs when water from inside the eye rushes in and leads to a fluid buildup in the cornea. I’m not sure I’d want such a defective part named after me.
Dua’s Layer is now the sixth layer of the eye that we know of. But, of course, anybody who’s always wanted a body part named after them can announce some eye layer that they’ve made up, possibly by slicing an existing layer lengthwise. If you think I’m kidding, consider that the other layers of the eye include Bowman’s Layer and Descemet’s Membrane. I’m thinking I may just announce an eye part myself. I’ll call it…let’s see…Mark’s Mucus (because I enjoy alliteration), and if you have a defect in Mark’s Mucus it can cause Mark’s Blindness, which is the inability to see Mark’s Mucus.
On the other hand, maybe we are evolving, and we keep adding eye layers. That would seem to be the theory of an illustrator named Nickolay Lamm, who has produced a series of images (above and right) showing how the human face might develop over the next 100,000 years or so. Evidently, our descendants will all look like Marty Feldman.
Transplant One Right Here
In other body part news, The Wall Street Journal reports that people (I’m assuming men) are flocking from all over the world to Turkey for mustache transplants. You can even book travel packages that include airfare, sightseeing, the transplant and, lately, optional participation in violent demonstrations. The hair apparently is removed from other, more hirsute areas of the body, and implanted along the lip. This means if you happen to see a bald guy with an exceptionally tight, curly mustache, you may not want to kiss him.
See you soon.
*Just kidding. Casey is a good girl. She’s going to provide for us in our old age.