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Appendix: Where the Good Bacteria Live

on October 13, 2007
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AP: “Scientists: Appendix Protects Good GermsThe actual function of the human appendix—which has been long derided by some scientists as a useless leftover of evolution—has “finally” been uncovered, reports the Associated Press.

Surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School, whose hypothesis was published in an online edition of the Journal of Theoretical Biology, suggest that the job of the appendix is to produce and protect beneficial germs for use in the intestines.

In less developed countries, the appendix may still be useful.

The AP story notes that the appendix’s job “seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system.” Most bacteria in the human body is helpful and is used to aid digestion. Duke surgery professor Bill Parker, who participated in the study, labeled the appendix a “good safe house for bacteria” and a “bacteria factory” that cultivates good germs. If a disease such as cholera or amoebic dysentery destroys the useful bacteria in the human gut, it is the appendix’s job to “reboot” (to use the AP story’s term) the digestive system.

In modern, developed countries, however, the appendix is less important. Not only are epidemics of cholera and amoebic dysentery no longer threats, but gut bacteria can also be repopulated through contact with other people, Parker explains. But in less developed countries, the appendix may still be useful.

Other scientists agreed that the new theory makes sense, with one suggesting the tonsils (also at one time considered a useless evolutionary leftover) may have a similar function.

Evolutionists once counted some 180 structures in the human body as “vestigial”: useless remnants from our evolutionary past that served no purpose in “modern” humans. Functions have since been found for nearly all those structures—as a creationist would expect: excellent design and function make sense with a wise, all-knowing God (too bad many evolutionists were blinded to this all those years). And although the tide has been turning for a while, at least in some circles, indicating that the appendix likewise played an important role in the human body, this recent paper pretty much settles the debate (though further study is certainly merited).

One final note: the AP article cautions (and we second) that this theory in no way reduces the danger of appendicitis and the importance of seeking medical attention for acute abdominal pain.


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