Researchers now say they’ve found a new side-effect to excessive cell phone use: We’re growing horns.
According to the findings published in the Journal Nature, the scientists noticed an “enlarged external occipital protuberance” — that is, a bony protrusion at the base of the skull — in 40% of the X-rays of young people in a sample of 1,200 people aged from 18 to 86.
It’s called “text neck”. Scientists theorized that all that looking down at our phones is physically changing the shape of our skulls.
The bony protrusions are getting bigger, the researchers theorize, because all that looking down is yanking on the tendon that’s anchored to the skull to keep our heads from falling down. That yanking is causing the bone to which it’s anchored to grow at an advanced rate.
Scientists believe this is similar to the way in which prehistoric humans had thicker jaws and jaw muscles to power through tough-to-chew foods, but lost those features through evolution as humans began eating softer foods. Now, they say, young people are at the forefront of an evolutionary shift in skull shape.
It’s happening so rapidly, in fact, that you might be able to literally feel it on the back of your own skull right now.
If the young people stop bending over their devices, the researchers say the protrusions could shrink. But as any parent can tell you, that seems less likely than watching their kids turn into reverse unicorns before their eyes.