Looks like the appendix might have a purpose after all

Everyone always says that the appendix is pointless. They reckon that it’s a left over organ that used to have a purpose.

New Scientist reports:

  • Previous research has shown that the appendix is actually recently evolved so it must have a purpose.
  • They reckon the purpose is to keep a stash of good “gut bacteria” which could otherwise be “lost to bouts of diarrhoea.”
  • The theory is that people who have no appendix are OK because they live in the rich world and are “unlikely to get extreme diarrhoeal diseases like, say, cholera.”

In fact:

  • “Fully 6% of people in industrialised countries have had the thing out, but appendicitis is relatively rare in poor countries. Perhaps this is due to differences in diet, with more roughage making for generally healthier guts?”