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Appendix, no “vestigial organ,” is a safe house for useful bacteria, researcher says

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appendix at lower right

Remember how the appendix was a prime example of a vestigial organ, left over from Darwinian evolution? From ScienceDaily:

The appendix is a slender two- to four-inch pouch located near the juncture of the large and small intestines. While its exact function in humans has been debated by physicians, it is known that there is immune system tissue in the appendix.

The gut is populated with different microbes that help the digestive system break down the foods we eat. In return, the gut provides nourishment and safety to the bacteria. Parker now believes that the immune system cells found in the appendix are there to protect, rather than harm, the good bacteria.

For the past ten years, Parker has been studying the interplay of these bacteria in the bowels, and in the process has documented the existence in the bowel of what is known as a biofilm. This thin and delicate layer is an amalgamation of microbes, mucous and immune system molecules living together atop of the lining the intestines.

“Our studies have indicated that the immune system protects and nourishes the colonies of microbes living in the biofilm,” Parkers explained. “By protecting these good microbes, the harmful microbes have no place to locate. We have also shown that biofilms are most pronounced in the appendix and their prevalence decreases moving away from it.”

This new function of the appendix might be envisioned if conditions in the absence of modern health care and sanitation are considered, Parker said.

A detailed explanation follows, of the role the appendix might play in less hygienic conditions than those to which many today are accustomed (which were probably usual in the past).

Incidentally,

Other than humans, the only mammals known to have appendices are rabbits, opossums and wombats, and their appendices are markedly different than the human appendix.

Opossums and wombats? Bet they are different. The whole subject is confusing, but we are “aren’t I good?” girls who just wait for Darwin-answers. (In German, that’s Darwinantworten, just so you know.)

See also: “They knew the human appendix did a job sixty years ago, actually.” But pretending otherwise was a handy point to make in favour of Darwinism. Like, who in the audience would know, who dared speak up?

Hat tip: Jasmine Sheasha at a new ID Facebook page to check out.

6 Replies to “Appendix, no “vestigial organ,” is a safe house for useful bacteria, researcher says

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    The appendix has been very useful- it is where we keep addendums. Humans have been using the appendix to add information to their books and documents for some time. 😎

  2. 2
    RexTugwell says:

    I have to agree with Joe. In fact, some people can have more than one appendix. Behe’s The Edge of Evolution has four very interesting appendices. 😉

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    Nice one, Joe. 😉

    Other than humans, the only mammals known to have appendices are rabbits, opossums and wombats, and their appendices are markedly different than the human appendix.

    The list of mammals with a hymen structure is also limited to a seemingly arbitrary list. Some of the ones popularly included in the list apparently require a generous interpretation of “hymen.”

    Incidentally, while looking at some of the lists online, I ran across this webpage:
    http://www.primitivism.com/aquatic-ape.htm

    It promotes the idea of humans as the only primate with an aquatic origin. The purported differences of humans from other primates are interesting and include

    – Ten times as many fat cells, skin bonded
    – Voluntary breath control
    – Descended larynx like sea lions
    – Functional sebaceous glands
    – Tear glands
    – Lacking fur
    – Lacking vibrissae (animal whiskers)

    And so on. I’m sure that some of these are controversial or incorrect, but it also demonstrates that other, more convincing Darwinian stories can easily take the place of the current one.

    -Q

  4. 4
    sixthbook says:

    Seeing as this has been known since at least 1999:(http://www.scientificamerican......tion-of-t/)
    It’s absolutely ridiculous that this is still considered a vestigial organ anymore. It had to have evolved 30+ times anyways so it doesn’t even fit the pattern that it would have to fit in order to be a vestigial organ even if it was functionless.

    Evolution holding science back? Again? No way!

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    It seems like these days, with the growing popularization of frivolous, superficial social media, and the little or no attention paid to the meaning of words in publications, conversations, radio, TV, online, one could easily notice the tremendous underutilization of the human brains. Does that mean most of our brains is just vestigial organ?

  6. 6
    Barb says:

    The article “Are Any Organs Really ‘Vestigial’?” from Awake! of February 8, 1974, had something to say on this matter.

    In an article entitled “The ‘Useless’ Gland That Guards Our Health,” Reader’s Digest stated:
    “For at least 2000 years, doctors have puzzled over the function of a pinkish-grey bit of tissue lying just below the neck and behind the breastbone—the thymus gland. . . . Modern physicians came to regard it, like the appendix, as a useless, vestigial organ which had lost its original purpose, if indeed it ever had one.

    “In the last few years, however, the dogged detective work of a small band of Americans, Britons, Australians and Swedes have cracked the thymus enigma. These men have proved that, far from being useless, the thymus is really the master gland that regulates the intricate immunity system which protects us against infectious diseases. . . .

    “But is the thymus the only organ regulating our immunity system? Recent experiments have led researchers to believe that the appendix, tonsils and adenoids [once these too were tagged as vestigial] may also figure in the antibody responses.”

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