Talk:Vermiform appendix

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Vermiform appendix:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Cleanup: *More references required - article is very weak in this area
  • Expand: *Expand on the appendix in non-human animals (details of function etc)


Would like to hear definitive evidence to prove appendix has function. Creationist websites don't count. --Alex.tan 10:52, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

"Although it used to be believed that the appendix had no function and was an evolutionary relic, this is no longer thought to be true. Its greatest importance is the immunological function it provides in the developing embryo, but it continues to function even in the adult, although it's not so important and we can live without it.

"The function of the appendix appears to be to expose circulating immune cells to antigens from the bacteria and other organisms living in your gut. That helps your immune system to tell friend from foe and stops it from launching damaging attacks on bacteria that happily co-exist with you."

Extracted from

Shantavira 14:44, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Btw, that link does not link to any relevant information on this. Still awaiting a link to good evidence. Alex.tan 15:49, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

That text can now be found at the New Scientist web site at . Poslfit 06:23, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

There is scientic new evidence at [1] This is from an evolutionary science publication about work being done at Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, in Partnership with Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA TaSwavo (talk) 09:17, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

The section is in serious need of citations. It made a ton of assertion without anything to back it up.--Pctopgs (talk) 11:22, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't think three tags were necessary in one sentence. And do you really need a source that appendicitis exists? Auntie E. 16:14, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Here is a link to the NewScientist article explaining the function of the Appendix.

Btw, just to point out it, it sounds pretty silly for one to be asking for some proof that a human organ serves a purpose. We find new purposes for organs all the time. I believe the burden of proof rests firmly on the one that claims an organ is totally useless. If you don't yet know what something is good for, just relax and keep investigating, don't just start claiming it is a Vestigial structure left over from evolutionary processes. That's ridiculous and intellectually dishonest. (talk) 11:44, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

If that's your belief, then your belief is wrong. If an organ is present and functional in anscestral species, but of diminished purpose or no purpose at all in a descendant species then it can be assumed to be vestigial. If further evidence arises that it retains it's function, then that theory can be changed. This is how science (including evolutionary science) works - evidence and testable hypothesis. What is intellectually dishonest, is trawling Wikipedia and vandalising pages related to evolution with creationist propanganda, and then insinuating that it is somehow scientifically representative or a valid critique. It's a sure fire way to get an article locked, to the detriment of everyone. (talk) 12:54, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Proving that something is useless is like proving that something is impossible - you have to actually prove it, and that's hard. Assuming that something you can't find the use for is useless is practical, but if that assumption is all we have, then we're far from properly understanding the organ in question. --Brilliand (talk) 19:59, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Although, judging from some other statements on this talk page, the question of whether the organ has any use at all is beside the point of whether it's vestigial... --Brilliand (talk) 20:13, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Bad Paragraph?[edit]

One explanation has been that the appendix is a vestigial structure with no current purpose.[citation needed] The appendix is thought to have descended from an organ in our distant herbivorous ancestors called the cecum (or caecum). The cecum is maintained in modern herbivores, where it houses the bacteria that digest cellulose, a chemically tough carbohydrate that these animals could not otherwise utilize. The human appendix contains no significant number of these bacteria, and cellulose is indigestible to us. It seems likely that the appendix lost this function before our ancestors became recognizably human.[citation needed]

This paragraph is misleading at best. Not only is the whole thing uncited, but it seems to me to also imply that modern humans don't have a cecum, which they certainly do, as any beginner's anatomy book (or cadaver) will show. Cecum is a good starter for a reference to the existing structure in humans. I'm tempted to just delete that whole paragraph outright, as I've already seen once instance of it being misquoted elsewhere. Unless someone's up for re-writing it with proper references? The bit about vestigiality can stay, as that is fairly common thought; it's everything after that sucks. --Dthatcher 19:11, 23 November 2006 (UTC)whats a function.

World Record[edit]

So Spencer Bayle's page says that he . Maybe this article should be altered to reflect the current record-holder? -GregoryWeir 30 June 2005 20:24 (UTC)

Better now. -GregoryWeir 14:16, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
LOL NEW RECORD PLZ KTHX Ahanix1989 19:49, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Which side?[edit]

Is the appendix on the right or left of the body (i.e. is the picture showing the front or the back?) --Henrygb 10:34, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Good question. It's normally on the right side. Annotating the image and updating the text to clarify. Alex.tan 18:30, July 29, 2005 (UTC)

Lacking appendix[edit]

I read in an article that recent laparoscopies have shown that many people do lack any appendix at all. This would be a disaster for the creationists, which claims the appendix is not an vestigal organ, but a fully functional one. If it turns out some people are born without, it would be very hard for them to accept that it actually is a vestigal organ, even if it actually still have a function, but not as important as they wish to believe. Not that it would matter if it did.

Some people are born with other congenital defects, does that mean those organs were vestigial? Creationists seem to mostly accept that mutations occur, but that they usually result in loss of genetic information and thus are not useful in explaining evolution. Surely this could just be the result of such a mutation? Is the loss of the appendix hereditary?
If the missing organs don't make any determinable difference, then yes, you could probably say that they were vestigial. — Fatalis 17:50, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I mentioned this in the article, and shortly arter it was removed. The external link is described as "evolutionary biology", but after a look on the site I added "creationism" to the description. Shortly after it was removed. That's creationists in a nutshell; remove everything you don't like or what you cinsider as a threat to your personal beliefs.

Do a search on vestigal organs on Google, and you will find almost exclusively phages driven by creationists.

Well, I reverted your edit because what you added made it sound like the article also supported the creationist point of view, which is wrong (and, I suspect, not what you intended). Alex.tan 12:32, August 25, 2005 (UTC)

I really don't wanna offend anyone but if the writer above me is a doctor, then he is probably correct. but if not, chances are, he's/she's guillible. I don't mean to insult anyone, but he should really check it out if it's really true. You can't believe anything in the internet anyhow. User:

You shoot your own argument in the foot by saying that either I'm a doctor and therefore, I'm correct or I'm not and therefore I'm wrong. Whether I'm correct or not should not depend on whether I'm a doctor - which, by the way, I am. In future, please sign all comments with ~~~~. Alex.tan 01:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
If you cant believe anything on the internet, why would Wikipedia even exist?

It is true that a minority of people do not have an appendix, but this is hardly a disaster for creationists. It is fairly common for people to be lacking specific organs and tissues ranging from bones through kidneys, etc. There are actual percentages of these ommissions (agenesis) of organs. The highest in the human body exists among some muscles, nerves and bones. When agenesis of major organs like the brain occurs, it results in death, but agenesis of 1 kidney occurs at a rate of .0002%. The appendix occurs at a rate of .00001%, so therefore according to this logic the kidney is more vestigial than a kidney. -- User:Cutterfl

Web Page Copies from Wikipedia[edit]


Of course the appendix is vestigial. It's also obvious that it has an unknown function. We want to know what function that might be and how it affect people who has it. There's many things we don't know about human body yet, it would be at very least pretensious to overlook the appendix.

Actually, the appendix is probably not vestigial. Check out the papers (especially Smith et al. 2013, fifth page) which I referenced. The appendix appeared at least 32 times (and some of these appearances are fairly recent, whereas others are ancient) and disappeared no more than six times, according to a dataset of 361 mammalian species. Also, contrary to what was claimed to remove part of the text that I had added, one good study is enough to refute an established myth. For instance, when Darwin suggested that the appendix had appeared as a result of reduction in size of the cecum, he had data about only a few (perhaps four or five) species. Smith et al. (2013) had data about 361 species, so whichever conclusions are reached on the basis of such an extensive dataset are much better documented than what preceded. It does not matter how many times Darwin's hypotesis based on only a few species was repeated in popular papers and books; one solid study based on nearly 100 times more data is clearly more convincing. I hope that this clarifies why I edited the page as I did. Stranger forever (talk) 09:05, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

As of me, I believe the appendix must produce unknown substances, probably similar to hormones, because science usually overlook things not yet known by science. Not as much as church, but still do. It could even be related to stress.

--Cacumer 2006-01-27 00:20:21 (UTC)

Perhaps you don't realize that your statements, "Of course the appendix is vestigial" and "It's also obvious that it has an unknown function" contradict each other and are mutually exclusive. Oh, in future, please sign your discussion statements. Alex.tan 23:50, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I always forget my signature...

I did realize what you said before, and thanks for stressing it out. Perhaps you don't realize what vestigial means.

Thanks for your help. :)

--Cacumer 21:35, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

A vestigial organ is one whose function has been lost or is no longer performing any function. Therefore, a vestigial organ cannot have an unknown function. It either has a function (and is therefore not vestigial) or has no function (and is therefore vestigial). You cannot have a vestigial organ with an unknown function. That's the point. Alex.tan 06:04, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Makes perfect sense. But then I think we're using the wrong name here. What Vestigial tells me is that something was left behind, and that's it. It doesn't tell me that it doesn't have any function. Maybe a better name would be obsolete.

--Cacumer 04:42, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I think the term vestigial is being mis-defined here. From our own definition, it is a structure "...whose original function is considered to have been lost or reduced...". Not necessarily lost, just reduced. --Dcfleck 15:13, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
A vestige is a holdover from another time. For instance, a riding crop (horsewhip) is a vestige in that sense that people don't ride horses anymore. But it still has function, i.e. it is used for sexual entertainment. Consider also cannons; no one fights wars with cannons any more, but they're still used for 21-gun salutes, decorative purposes, and historical recreation. They've lost their original function, so they're vestigal. 19:54, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Whaa...? People don't ride horses anymore? *scratches head* Besides, a crop is a very poor example of something vestigial (presuming the statement *IS* true,'s not). Try not to legitimize your own proclivities by spouting nonsense. ;) Kailey elise (talk) 01:23, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Last but not least before a debate on the relevance of any organ, we must consider that science has overlooked many things in the past and to assume that doctor, scientist or garbageman theory we must take into consideration that we are human and not perfect. What gives the right to anyone to assume it has no purpose stricktly because we dont understand it to its full extent. Thats similar to stating that since we don't understand a certain religion or belief that it is useless. (for lack of a better term/explination. Anyone who states it has no use 100% is simply ignorant, if scientists cannot figure out a use for it does not mean that it is useless. One can make outrageous statements saying since humans being at the top of the food chain would need some sort of population control, this however does not seem like a large margin, but neither do all the other inperfections we have in our body to which can cause death. Take for example 6 people formed in a triangle in a family tree. If person 2 at the top had died due to appendicitis, would that not significantly change the outcome of the population? In the end no man no matter how smart or how ignorant can state something is "Impossible" and nobody on earth can state that something has no use. We as humans have made mistakes in the past with assumuming things.

(Just for a laugh) Building a BBQ, its put all together, and there are a few screws and bolts left over, most people automatically assume they have not overlooked anything, and most people always consider those as "Spare parts" and discard them as nothing. My wife says they go somewhere to this day I haven't checked every possible solution, I remain ignorant and bliss as my lack for determination to figure out what those "spare parts" actually do.

Funding for the study of an appendix is lacking due to the common misconception that it may have no use. Perhaps it has no use, but in the end, nobody can state that it has no use until they have checked every billionth factor to which could lead to its explination of its very existance today. -- 09:10, 9 May 2006 (UTC)JD

The burden of proof is always on the person who makes the claim. It is up to you (or anyone else who claims it has a function) to prove it has a function rather than for me to search every last fossil and every last minute detail of all biological knowledge to prove that it has no function. In the absense of any good evidence that it has a function, it can be (rightly) assumed to have no good function despite all the searching for a function so far. Alex.tan 03:58, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

I really like the evolutionists propaganda. The vestigiality of the appendix is a holdover of bad science and this whole section affirming this should be removed. Science at Darwin's time didnt know what the appendix did and are only still guessing although it appears to have immunological function in all organisms it is present it. This comes from a time when science believed there were over 100 vestiges in the human body like the thyroid, pineal gland, adenoids, all lymphatic organs, etc with unknown functions appeared in the body. Medicine has removed many such organs from this list, often by killing the patient by removing them. It is then combined with the caecum to assume both organs do the function of the caecum in digesting cellulose which is why the caecum is huge in grass eaters, where the appendix itself is either nonexistent or indistinguishable from the caucum itself and therefore not really a veriform appendix (wormlike). I also have to deny the claim of poor design to function. Its small opening and tube structure can be clogged and cause inflamation. However, this design seems to be common in the many pockets that form most of the GALT system and immune systems in general which use these pockets to concentrate pathogens for identification. It is also a fact that appendicitis is mostly a disease of the western world and a processed diet. In previous world history with a more natural diet it was and is unknown for the most part. Its vestigial claim on this basis is also refuted as a modern one.

With all that mentioned, this is really another fraud of evolutionists for one reason. Monkeys from which all apes are supposedly descended DO NOT HAVE AN APPENDIX. Apes do, but it appears suddenly in its current form. So what do scientists want us to believe that the appendix is a vestige from nothing? If anything it is somewhat larger in humans than apes. So how could this in any possible way be a vestige from animals that did not posses it? User:Cutterfl —Preceding comment was added at 01:48, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

There's no such thing as "evolutionist propaganda", biological evolution, and a long history of the universe, are points of scientific consensus, like it or not. Your information comes from fundamentalist sources, often made almost exclusively of distortions. It's irrelevant, to the stance of biological evolution as a fact, that some (or even all) medical practicioners may have thought that some organs didn't have function when they had, and/or that they were vestigial when they're not. First of all, thinking something has no function is theoretically independent of the notion of vestigiality; I have never seen someone claiming that the beard is not vestigial, thus it's useful, and men should never shave, neither women should shave their legs. Some creationists even conciliate vestigiality with the fall (and so they do for everything that is not quite fit; that's why many fundamentalists accept that people should take some medicine when they have a fever instead of just allow this natural-thus-perfectly-designed process make its job, or just hope that the perfectly designed immune system will handle anything, or that parasites like Leishmania can't be bad because God made them). So is theoretically possible that many people thought that these organs had no function, regardless of influence of evolutionary science. Evolutionary science hadn't much direct influence in medicine in earlier times anyway. And even if this can really be traced to evolutionary thought, there is more to it than just conclude that evolution isa failed explanation or whatever. Could be both that these people (how many they might have been) had a poor understanding of vestigiality, thinking of it implies in lack of functionality (when since Darwin it is not claimed it does), and maybe they were even incapable of correctly identifying an structure as vestigial, maybe these were fringe or hotly debated assertions. Even if they were not, it's a double standard to accept that would be OK for creationism to hold some mistaken position about lack of functionality or perfect functionality, whereas for evolution everyone has to be perfectly correct right off the bat, otherwise evolution is wrong.
About monkeys not having an homologue structure (which is not something I know for sure, but I'll take for granted just for the explanation), that's not a problem at all; its probably somewhat the same explanation why different sexes have different genitalia, instead of everybody being hermaphrodite (and even XY persons can be develop as females, and, as recently discovered, even phenotypically undistinguishable females, rather than having testes instead of ovaries). Phenotypical structures can disappear completely at the same time the genetic basis and developmental "tools" to make them are still there, but not being used. That's why horses may eventually have more toes, humans may be born with real tails (and not just blobs of meat just about where a tail would be expected), dolphins and whales may be born with rear fins, and chicken may be born (or stillborn) with teeth. It worths mentioning, though, that if it is somehow genetically absent in extant monkeys, though (which I think is unlikely, I just guess it's not that specialized), it wouldn't of course mean that the common ancestors of extant monkeys, humans and apes didn't have it. There's no reason why the more conserved, "basal", lineage of a group of lineages would have to conserve everything from the ancestral lineage.
... The point I really wanted to make, though, is that the way the article puts the thing seems to reinforce a bit the notion that vestigiiality implies in total lack of function, which maybe was the reason why this whole talk section was created. I'll read it again and see if I can think of something better. --Extremophile (talk) 20:22, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Again you argue about function, while I state a fact that the organ is NOT PRESENT in monkeys. My sources are not as you assume fundamentalist in origin, but in scientific papers. To wit: Monkeys from whom humans are supposedly descended do not have appendices. At best they have conical caecum (the beginning of the large colon). There is no structure even similar to an appendix in monkeys. Your contention that apes/humans are not descended from monkeys is clearly wrong also. We may share a common ancestor with old world monkeys, but that creature shares a common ancestor with new world monkeys. Therefore it would clearly be a monkey. Neither old nor new world monkeys have appendices, but apes do. So monkeys lost their appendix from their shared ancestor with rodents/bats, both of which have appendices but with totally different function of digestion. Our appendix on the other hand is probably an enlarged lymphiod pit common in the intestine. That it is located at the juncture of two organs would also reinforce this view, much as tonsils, adenoids perform the same function with their pitted surfaces at junctures in the digestive system also. (These two were once considered vestitigal also) Your explanation of missing organs is also lacking. Male and female ARE in fact hermoaphroditic. We both have the organs that the other sex has, only they develop differently due to hormones. Female breasts grow, males do not. A male penis is a female clitoris. Female ovaries are male testes. Your justification of so called throwbacks is also wrong and is more examples of the evolutionary propaganda mentioned above. Humans tails are generally failures in development, not a genetic throwback. There is only one cited case of bone being present. ONE. And no functional muscular was present. This also belies the fact that the cocyx bones are among some of the more variable in the human body among others that are variable. Generally the blob of flesh attached to the end of the spine is more common than you think since the flesh enclosing the spine closes up as the fetus grows from an open tube. It often does not close entirely and sometimes the body misfires and does not enclose the "tail" which is the end of the spine. This condition is called spinal bifida and often creates a cyst-like attachment where it occurs. This is caused by not enough folic acid during development. Not genetics. Among the thousands of whales caught in the last centuries, only one has had so-called exterior finds. This example did not survive for scientific examination. Dolphins do occasionally have back fins. These are however FINS and not legs. But basically, this does not stand in the way of evolution. You don't need evidence as you say. If its not there, we shall just ASSUME it was. This is the difference between science and evolutionary propaganda. One requires evidence not assumptions.

Removed "fact"[edit]

I tried and failed to verify the "fact" about the appendix possibly being involved in the digestion of raw meat in human ancestors. In fact, while attempting to verify, I could only find information that appeared contradictory to this idea, suggesting it is not a serious hypothesis. --Ginkgo100 talk · contribs 19:04, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Who said it was a fact ? I believe it was presented as one of many theories. If you found materials trying to disprove this idea, this suggests to me that someone took the suggestion seriously enough to debate it, so we should list both sides. Note that other theories, like the immune system theory, also have counter-evidence listed. StuRat 05:32, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
The fact I removed was that the hypothesis was a serious one. It was not a matter of evidence v. counter-evidence; it was a matter of no evidence whatsoever. I did not even find anything trying to disprove the idea; rather, I found materials that suggested to me that it may not be plausible. The theory does not meet WP:VERIFY because nothing at all could be found to verify it is a serious theory. If you can find something that verifies that a medical researcher, anthropologist, or other scientist has seriously put the hypothesis forward, then by all means add the fact back with the citation. --Ginkgo100 talk · contribs 14:29, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Note to others: I found the evidence he asked for, and presented it on my talk page, after which Ginko100 agreed and restored the material in question. StuRat 12:18, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, StuRat, I forgot to add that here. Thanks again for your help. --Ginkgo100 talk · contribs 16:07, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
No prob. StuRat 23:24, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Found one vestigal source.[edit]

Does a collection of info from various sources count, ie. a biology text? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Grottoman (talkcontribs) 09:40, 4 January 2007 (UTC).dji;hl

Undue weight, controversy and creationism[edit]

I made some changes to the article to downplay the "controversy" surrounding the appendix's function. I searched the Oxford Reference online and found no mention of any controversy. Searched the Medline dictionary and encyclopedia as well. The article seemed to give undue weight to minority views.-Andrew c 02:23, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


Does the mighty Wikipedia consider evolution a religion or a fact? Does it endorse evolution as such? Murphy 2021 05:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't (or at least shouldn't) endorse any viewpoint. Because of NPOV, we must remain neutral and present each side giving them due weight. If you read the Evolution article, you can see the manner in which we present the topic.-Andrew c 13:34, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
No, this is a religion. Evolution, on the other hand, is a scientific theory and a fact. - Fatalis 17:57, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Oh, it's hardly that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Equal weight indeed. @_@ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:24, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Appendicectomy yes or no[edit]

Under the Diseases heading:

Appendicitis (or epityphlitis) is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. Virtually all cases of Appendicitis require removal of the inflamed appendix,


it is now recognized that many cases will resolve when treated non-operatively. In some cases the appendicitis resolves completely; more often, an inflammatory mass forms around the appendix. This is a relative contraindication to surgery

--These two paragraphs appear to not agree. Is an appendicectomy the normal course of treatment??

Appendix no longer vestigial[edit]

Well, it never was. It's just that the function has been discovered:

Someone's already been trying to add this to the article, but it was a rather sloppy attempt. The section about the function is going to need some major overhauling to reflect past beliefs and these current findings. Jinxmchue 21:07, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Past beliefs are an important background on this organ, the removal of which has become one of the most common major medical procedures, on the basis that it serves no purpose. I changed that section (which was a horrific jumble of non-encyclopedic points) to include both an overview of the history and of the very recent hypotheses surrounding its use as part of the immune/digestion systems. There hasn't been enough time since the paper was put out to get scientific reactions from the evolutionary, biological, and medical fields, much less for a new scientific consensus to be achieved that it is correct. 01:30, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Looks good. Jinxmchue 15:50, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Improved the section discussing the article by Bollinger et al. Previously, the article characterized the view of the article as having a misrepresenting of vestigiality when in actually the authors know exactly what a vestigial organ is. They are suggesting that the appendix is not vestigial at all (in addition to to being not useless), but rather the current function of the appendix is the same as it always was and is no longer useful due to technological advancements (not evolutionary ones). (talk) 00:25, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Possible function[edit]

One time, I heard that early humans used to eat wood, and the appendix held certain bacteria to break down the wood for digestion. However, now that we don't eat wood anymore, we don't need the appendix. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Brody014 (talkcontribs) 03:43, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Naw.. pretty sure nobody has ever eaten wood 'cept termites.. and even then that's bacteria in their gut, right? Like, even the world's best four-chambered stomach still couldn't handle wood.. leaves yeah, but not wood.. XD —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
No, I mean that tens of thousands of years ago, early humans may have eaten wood and that the appendix was used to house bacteria for the digestion of the wood.

Vestigiality does not imply lack of functionality[edit]

The article organizes its subsections in a way that suggests somewhat a wrong dichotomy between function and vestigiality, when in fact evolutionary vestigiality was never really thought to necessarily imply in lack of function. The article actually states that, but organizes the sections in different "interpretations", "historical" and others, only one of them being "vestigiality", the others don't, while a vestigial/homologue origin can still (and still is) sustained despite of more proper knowledge about the current function. "Vestigiality" is not much related to "function" at all, is more about the evolutionary origin of the organ. --Extremophile (talk) 03:48, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Aye, I have attempted to correct it. The article the page actually uses to support this claim is focused on a hypothetical immune function. It in no way contradicts the evolutionary explanation of the appendix, vestigail doesn't mean non-functional, and so finding a function doesn't contradict the claim of for the appendix being a vestige. More about the Bollinger et al. (2007) article here: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

And I meant to add as well, the 'no absolute purpose' early in the 'historical' part is easily open to misinterpretation. Vestigiality just makes a claim that a biological system lost one particular purpose during evolutionary development(i.e., cellulose digestion for the appendix). Thus, Ostrich wings are vestigial as they are no longer used for the purpose of flight. But they are still used to aid movement and display etc. Thus, do Ostrich wings have 'no absolute purpose'? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:33, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get off the function debate. The appendix is not present in monkeys and therefore it is not a vestige from them. User:Cutterfl —Preceding comment was added at 01:51, 23 June 2008 (UTC) And if we had evolved from monkeys that would be a decent argument, but since it's most likely that humans and monkeys had a common ancestor, this isn't so solid. (talk) 22:03, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Spelling of cecum[edit]

See the Manual of Style. The article can consistently use one kind of spelling or another, but using both is not a valid option, and neither is editing the article only to change from one valid spelling to another. --Doradus (talk) 13:48, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

It's not a question of regional variations, it's a question of medical terminology, even the Cecum article notes that it has two distinct spellings. The correct name is the Latin version (as are most anatomical terms), the US English spelling being the regional variation. I kept to MoS by not changing the original US English version that the article used, but added the correct Latin term so as to enable it to show up on searches. Only the US uses "cecum", the rest of the world uses "caecum". This is a compromise and only adds to the usefulness of the article, it does not detract from it, substance should always take precedence over style. Please also note that the MoS doesn't take into account genre/vocational specific terminology, it only discusses grammatical uses of regional spellings. --WebHamster 14:03, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
As you are so keen to quote MoS then perhaps you should note this diff whereby is shows that the first use of the term in this article was using the correct Latin term. So according to WP:MOS#Retaining the existing variety the actual term used should be caecum and not cecum as the article was originally written in British English. --WebHamster 16:14, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
There's no need to get snippy. I have no problem with the British spelling if you think it's that important. --Doradus (talk) 22:20, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not being "snippy", I'm merely answering in the same way you started the discussion. You started the wikilawyering so I thought that's what you would understand in response. As regards British English, again that isn't the point. The point is that people will be searching for both terms, so at some point there should be an inclusion of both variants in the article. Or does style win out over common-sense these days? In any case, there's always WP:IAR --WebHamster 22:29, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem including both spellings; I just don't think every instance of the word needs both spellings. Your recent edit has done exactly the right thing I think. I'm sorry if I offended. --Doradus (talk) 03:53, 29 February 2008 (UTC)


I just had my appendix removed. Diagnosis was done with white blood cell counts and a sonograph. The article only mentions MRI and CT. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:27, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Creationists' "view"[edit]

Do we really need the Creationists' view on a scientific article? Why not add the "views" of the countless pseudosciences out there? I'm removing it. --Taraborn (talk) 11:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

This is intolerable, though the creationist viewpoint may be gone, their anti-scientific quackery "evidence" is presented directly below the scientific evidence that the appendix has no function. Better to remove both parts and keep people from being confused than to present information and then present its opposite. (talk) 04:54, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Immune Use[edit]

Does the last sentnce in the section "immune use" have anything to do with immune use?

Come to think of it, what does "immune use" convey?

Wanderer57 (talk) 05:16, 20 September 2008 (UTC)


Looks like the first paragraph in the Functionality section has been spammed and has the opposite meaning of what's intended. Sorry - I don't have time to fix it at the moment! Thanks. --TheNunOwnedGoat 03:46, 19 November 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheNunOwnedGoat (talkcontribs)

Contradiction between articles on Appendicitis and Appendix[edit]

This has been pointed out before (without date stamp), but in the interest of raising visibility attract the attention of someone who can resolve the contradiction, I am stating it again.

On the Appendicitis page,it says "All cases [of appendicities] require removal of the inflamed appendix". Also not that when the contradiction was first raised, the text read "Virtually all cases ..."

On the Appendix page, it says "Many cases of appendicitis require removal of the inflamed appendix ..... it is now recognized that many cases will resolve when treated non-operatively. In some cases the appendicitis resolves completely; more often, an inflammatory mass forms around the appendix. This is a relative contraindication to surgery." --Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 13:30, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

The contradiction still exists and gives reason to serious concern. I have changed one sentence here to bring it in line with the other article and the German Wikipedia, and marked another as dubious. It is of course entirely possible that there is new research on this that is not yet widely known. However, it appears more likely that the formulation in this article is the result of confusion w.r.t. the fact that delaying operation can keep the number of useless appendectomies after misdiagnosis down.
I have not inspected the article's history. It could give some insight into where this claim comes from. Hans Adler 09:38, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Claims of a function related to radioactivity[edit]

I vaguely remember hearing about a study that claimed higher survival rates of people who still had their appendix, after the Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki bomb. I found references to this study in German forum discussions, but no definite pointers. If true, this could be a secondary effect of the immunological function (assuming they had cholera after the bombs, which appears plausible) and so might be worth a sentence in vermiform appendix#Immune function. Hans Adler 09:43, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Other functions: harbor beneficial bacteria?[edit]

There is a bit of an ambiguity in the description of the "Immune function" and "Maintaining gut flora" functions. Both subtopics refer to "beneficial bacteria", but I'm not sure the word "beneficial" is appropriate, and perhaps should, instead, be just "normal".

My objection is that during disease-cause bowel purges, it is certain that those disease-causing bacteria aren't beneficial, but that doesn't mean that that all of normal bacteria residing in the gut are beneficial.

The current usage of that word implies that somehow the appendix is distinguishing between "good" and "bad" bacteria, and storing only the good. The term "reboot" (used in the MSNBC article, but not attributed to the interviewees) seems to more appropriately indicate that the appendix simply repopulates the gut with the prior mix, which might have quite a bit of "bad" mixed in. MrRedwood (talk) 04:55, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

The whole idea of 'good' and 'bad' bacteria is nonsense. Bacteria being harmful depends on there being a severe and unchecked overgrowth of them. There are bacteria whose effects work in symbiosis with the body and those which don't do anything for us. Out of the ones that don't have a beneficial effect, the vast majority of them are harmless and even the very few harmful ones are harmless unless they grow out of control. The idea that the appendix stores 'bad' bacteria along with 'good' bacteria is nonsense. The appendix evolved as it did precisely so that it can enhance a balanced bacterial population so that none of the bacteria can become harmful.Ianbrettcooper (talk) 15:37, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Is definition in Vestigality too vague?[edit]

"...the human appendix is considered a vestigial structure. This interpretation would stand even if it were found to have a certain use in the human body."

If a vestigal structure is one whose "original function" has changed, wouldn't pretty much every part of the body count? Evolution doesn't begin with a sole "original function" for each part. Things are constantly changing, have different adaptive values in different contexts, and "useless" things are quickly selected against if they provide nothing but complexity. (E.g., if the heart originally was adapted from a muscle used for some rudimentary form of digestion or respiration, then it would be "vestigal" now by this definition.)

I feel "vestigal" needs to be described more carefully. If it refers to recent changes in how a body part allows most organisms of that species to adapt, it should say that, define "recent", and focus on change rather than disuse (which is something we admit in the article we don't know for certain). The way it's currently written, it sounds like "vestigal" is a meaningless, unfalsifiable label.

I agree that evidence strongly suggests the role of the appendix has changed significantly in recent human evolution, but there's no basis to conclude it has no function at all today. This conclusion runs counter to evolutionary theory (if it only killed people, provided no fitness at all, and is easily divorced from the system, it would be selected against rather quickly). It's also not plausible to show in a complex system that something has "no use". The primary goal here should be accuracy, not an argument between Western mythology and science. TricksterWolf (talk) 23:40, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

In reality, "Vestigal" just refers to an organ of which we haven't fully discovered the function of yet. The "evolution" claims are similar to times when people believed diseases were caused by evil spirits. It's just a variation of a mythological argument from ignorance. "We don't know what it does, so it must be leftover from evolution!" Pretty sad.. Future generations will have a good chuckle, at least. (talk) 17:17, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Not a SIGNIFICANTLY greater rate of C. difficile infection[edit]

Unless I'm mistaken, the following sentence appears to misinterpret the study which it references:

However, other research showed that there is a significantly greater rate of C. difficile infection among people with an appendix, with more than 80% of the infections occurring among patients with an intact appendix.

While this is true, it's wildly misleading since more than 80% of the non-infections occurred among patients with intact appendixes too because more than 80% of the study group had intact appendixes. Damn statistics. In truth the actual difference was about 1%, as 80.1% of infected people had appendixes versus 81.5% of non-infected people.

I've reworded this sentence accordingly. --Xiaphias (talk) 21:26, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Following on from this comment, there are actually a couple more problems with the cited article that disqualify it from being used as a reference on Wikipedia. First, the disqualifying issue: the linked article is a piece of primary research. Wikipedia's policy specifically states that primary research should not be cited in Wikipedia articles. Just to be sure I wasn't singling out this one reference I checked a few other scholarly articles in the references, and they were review articles (as they should be).

A second issue with the paper in question, although not technically disqualifying, is that it just isn't very good science. The authors focus on the difference in appendectomy rates between their CDAD (~20%) and non-CDAD but still sick (~30%) groups, but they make almost no mention of the fact that the CDAD group has an appendectomy rate that is almost identical to that of their group of age- and sex-matched controls - I think it was 19.9% vs 18.5%. To me, this suggests an alternate hypothesis that appendectomy may be a causal factor for gastrointestinal illness later in life that is not caused by C. difficile, but it doesn't suggest any real conclusions about appendectomy and C diff. This could be because their sample size was pretty small - only 136 in the CDAD group, ~120 in the non-CDAD group, and a few hundred "normal" controls who weren't screened for C diff in any way.

To the specific point above - significance in this case actually refers to statistical significance, and the authors did claim that their numbers were significant in that respect. Finding a significant result does not address the other issues I outlined, though, and certainly doesn't magically make primary research appropriate for citation here. I'm removing the article from the ref list and the sentence in the page that refers to it; it can be replaced if/when some secondary literature emerges, which will probably first require further replication of the primary work.

In case anyone coming across this page is interested in the article, I've pasted the ref tag here: [1]

  1. ^ Merchant, R.; Mower, W.R.; Ourian, A.; Abrahamian, M.F.; Moran G.J.; Krishnadasan, A.; Talan, D.A.. (17 January 2012). "Association Between Appendectomy and Clostridium difficile Infection". J Clin Med Res 4 (1): 17–19. doi:10.4021/jocmr770w. PMC 3279496. PMID 22383922. 

Pyrilium (talk) 23:45, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Appendicitis addition[edit]

I read that the location of the appendix is very important in the diagnosis of appendicitis. Although the appendix is usually in the lower right quadrant, if it is located somewhere else, then the diagnosis may mimic other diseases. I find this important so that people will possibly look into appendicitis even if they have pain in other egions of the abdomen. I am not sure where to put this information exactly so I added it here first. Here is what I read and the citation for the page.

Identification of the normal position of appendix is important because in appendicitis variable positions may produce symptoms and signs related to their position, and hence can mimic other diseases (Sabiston et al, 2001; Bakheti and Warille, 1999).

I found this in this article. [1]

Martin.2489 (talk) 12:38, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Surgery section[edit]

For the surgery section where it talks about removing the appendix to make a pathway for fecal movement or for urinary help, I believe there could be a bit more about the topics. Perhaps list the name of the fecal movement procedure (Malone antegrade continence enema) and perhaps mention the fact that the two procedures usually tie in with each other when patients have certain diseases such as Spina bifida. Just a suggestion that I think would be a helpful tidbit of information. Also add links to both Malone antegrade continence enema and spina bifida. [2] Martin.2489 (talk) 19:40, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

addition to the function section[edit]

I read that the appendix plays a major role in the fetus and young adults. The article said that "Endocrine cells appear in the appendix of the human fetus at around the 11th week of development. These endocrine cells of the fetal appendix have been shown to produce various biogenic amines and peptide hormones, compounds that assist with various biological control (homeostatic) mechanisms." I feel like this could possibly be a separate subcategory of the function for the appendix. I don't want to add anything in case there have been other articles to contradict this idea. [3]

Martin.2489 (talk) 20:04, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Golalipour, M.J.; Arya, B.; Jahanshahi, M. (2003). "Anatomical Variations Of Vermiform Appendix In South-East Caspian Sea (Gorgan-IRAN)". J. Anat. Soc. India. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Malone antegrade continence enema". Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Martin, Loren. "What is the function of the human appendix? Did it once have a purpose that has since been lost?". Scientific American. Retrieved 1 October 2014.