Sunday, 16 August 2009

Vestigial Organs Are Not As Useless As Previously Thought

If we believe that Lucy is our grandmother, we will regard vestigial organs as relics of our animal past.

Joel Kontinen

Vestigial organs have played a major role in the Darwinian understanding of our past. Surgeons used to cut off organs like the appendix that they thought were junk left over from the deep time of evolution. However, the very concept of vestigial organs is now becoming increasingly vestigial.

It seems that the primary purpose of vestigial organs is to show that all beings have developed from a common ancestor.

Newer research has shown that the idea of vestigial organs was based on a lack of knowledge. When a researcher who had adopted a Darwinian worldview did not find a function for an organ, he or she often regarded it as vestigial, a relict from man’s animal past.

The appendix, tonsils and spleen have been regarded as vestigial organs that no longer serve the function they once did. However, with the increase in knowledge about ourselves, these beliefs have been shown to be myths.

Recently, National Geographic News discussed several organs once thought to be vestigial but are now known to have a beneficial impact on our body.

In 2007, the Journal of Theoretical Biology published a study that revealed that the appendix is a storehouse for beneficial bacteria, helping us to digest food.

In 1977 The Lancet published a comprehensive longitudinal study on World War II veterans. Veterans who had lost their spleen were twice as likely to die from heart disease and pneunomia than those who had it intact.

Once again the creation model explains reality much better than the evolution model. The Fall brought suffering and harmful mutations into the world. In spite of this, humans are still “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We do not have useless organs although not all of them might function optimally.

Darwinian assumptions and the lets’ cut it off attitude have often hampered progress in the medical sciences.


Koerth-Baker, Maggie. 2009. Vestigial Organs Not So Useless After All, Studies Find. National Geography News.(30 July)