In your childhood, you might learn in school about vestigial organs - Appendix, Tailbone, wisdom teeth. Vestigial organs are those which do not have a particular function or lost a function during the course of evolution.
Now, it seems to be that you need to correct your memory. New research by Midwestern University claims that Appendix has a particular function in our body. For this, the researchers explained their findings and observations.
The researchers traced the appearance and disappearance of the appendix in several mammals (humans and animals) during the evolution over past 11 million years. Researchers observed the appearance of appendix at least 29 times during this period inferring that a particular function of this organ.
If an organ is vestigial, during the course of the organ it would disappear in accordance with the Use and disuse of organ hypothesis which we studied during our childhood. The appendix reappeared claiming a particular function and use for the humans.
What is the function of Appendix then?
Researchers found that appendix is the shelter for the intestinal bacteria. These intestinal bacteria keep us away from certain infections.
Researchers studied that an individual without appendix is four times more likely to be infected with Clostridium difficile colitis, a bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever, nausea and abdominal pain.
Although this is not the direct function of the appendix, it is playing a key role in guarding the immune system.
Researchers also found that the appendix is directly linked to the presence of the lymphoid tissue (Immune-related) in the caecum. This confirms that appendix acts as a Secondary Immune organ. The lymphoid tissue has a role in protecting the immune system by stimulating the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.