• Question: If we handn't evolved from Neanderthals to homosapiens would we need our appendixs?

    Asked by vstobie to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Maria, Shane on 18 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      The appendix is a tricky little organ – it doesn’t appear to have any biological role now for humans, but it likely was of use many years ago, when humans were hunter-gatherers, and would eat tough leaves and bark. Because our diet is no longer like this, due to evolution and other factors, our appendix doesn’t have a use in our digestion anymore. The appendix is important in rabbits and other rodents, who still eat a lot of grass and vegetation.

      Organs like this, which we have but don’t use for any purpose, are called vestigial organs – your tail bone and wisdom teeth are another few examples!

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      Great vstobie! and great answer Karen! I m going to add a little to this. We ve long thought it to be a vestigial organ, but scientists today think that the appendix is a safe haven where good bacteria hang out until they need to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      I think the appendix is an organ which gives us the ability to digest certain types of postage stamps….
      Only joking! 🙂 Yes, vestigial organ is exactly right. No use to humans that we have so far proven.