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Q: Can you name seven "useless" human body parts?

A: You might start with wisdom teeth, says Judy Dutton in "Mental Floss" magazine. Are you among the 5% of people today with room for them? "Back in pre-toothpaste days when molars fell out, wisdom teeth were handy backup chompers."

2. Tonsils in the back of the throat filter out bacteria and viruses but are prone to infection, and many kids have them removed. Luckily for adults, tonsils shrink with age and usually stop causing trouble.

3. Probably not as useless as once thought, the appendix may store beneficial bacteria for repopulating the gut after an illness.

4. The coccyx at the base of the spine consists of three to five vertebrae fused together, "remnants of our long-lost tails."

5. "Arrectores pilorum" are mini-muscles that long ago made our ancestors' body hairs stand on end to conserve heat and to make us look bigger, frightening off enemies. "Today, all they do is create goose bumps."

6. About 1 in 200 people has a set of spare ribs to go along with the normal 12 sets; all chimps and gorillas have an extra set near the neck.

7. Pinky toes: Our ape ancestors used all their toes to grab and swing from branches. Modern man can remain upright using his big toe "with a little help from its three neighboring piggies. The fifth is just along for the ride."

Send questions to StrangeTrue@compuserve.com.

Local events heading

  Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Port Byron passengers and mails will be transported by the Sterling and Rock Island railroad.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The congregation of the First Methodist church worshiped in Harper's theater, where construction work is being done at the church site.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Three-eye baseball for Moline was assured the Danville Franchise will be transferred to the Plow city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Roseville Methodist Church is observing its 100th anniversary.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The last remaining unfinished portion of Interstate 80 between the Quad-Cities and Joliet will be opened to traffic by Aug 12.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Of all the highlights of the last 12 years, this is the greatest of all, said Dennis Hitchcock, producer director of Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, as he torched the mortgage, clearing a $220,000 loan financing the downtown Rock Island theater's beginnings in 1977.

(More History)