(WHDH) — Poor technological habits among younger generations between the ages of 18 and 30 are drastically changing the human skeleton, according to new research.

Spiky, horn-like growths are forming at the base of their skulls because hours spent obsessing over smartphone and tablet apps are putting increased strain on muscles that were once lesser used, scientists at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia found.

“As we hunch over them, we crane our necks and hold our heads forward. This is problematic because the average head weighs around 10 pounds (4.5 kg) – about as much as a large watermelon,” researcher Dr. Shahar told the BBC.

Muscles that connect the neck to the back of the head are being strained so badly that spike-like growths known as “external occipital protuberances” are emerging.

Those who have the growths can feel them with their fingers, according to Shahar. In bald individuals, they may be visible from behind.

Nature Scientific Reports

After taking X-rays of the skulls of people ranging in age from 18 to 86, scientists found that the spikes were “more prevalent than expected” in people aged 18-30.

Shahar told the news outlet that the body is “laying down fresh layers of bone” to “help the skull to cope with the extra stress, by spreading the weight over a wider area.”

Poor posture is nothing new because people have always found something to hunch over. Since handheld devices were invented, people are spending nearly four hours a day looking down at their phones compared to just two hours of reading, which once was the norm, according to researchers.

Shahar says the newly-formed spikes will never go away but instead continue to grow bigger.

(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox