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Science: "to know"


Vestigial organs are structures that have lost all or most of its original function in the course of time, and serve no apparent use.

Many life forms have bones or organs that appear to not have any current purpose or function.

Could there be purposes and functions that we may not be aware of?

Vestigial Organs in Whales

"...sometimes bones are present in an organism but are reduced in size and either have no use or have a less important function than they do in other, related organisms. Such structures, which are considered to be evidence of an organism's evolutionary past, are called vestigial structures. For example, the hind limbs of whales are vestigial structures." HOLT BIOLOGY - Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2006, Pg. 286 

"Modern whales have - hind limbs, which have been reduced to only a few tiny internal hind-limb bones that have no function." Holt Biology, 2001 p. 285

Vestigial Organs in Humans

The Appendix: 

This small pouch attached to your large intestine, at the junction of the small intestine, no longer aids in digestion, and none of the 1 in 20 people who have one removed seems to miss it.

Five Useless Body Parts - 


Two main hypotheses have been offered:

A. The human body has a few unneeded parts. Some other life forms may have some as well, such as the whale.  They no longer rely on these organs or structures for any serious function, or they have atrophied or degenerated to the point that they don’t serve the function they used to.

B. These organs or structures all have a current purpose or function.  We may just not know what it is yet, but perhaps will discover their usefulness or purpose in time.

1. If they are useless vestiges, they will continue to get smaller until they no longer exist.

2. At some point in the future we will discover their purpose and usefulness, and understand why they are needed.

Hind Limb Bones in Whales
The hind limb bones in whales are deeply embedded in muscle tissue, are not connected to the vertebral column, show no evidence they ever were, and serve as a support to the pelvic wall, and also have muscle groups attached to them and serve as an organ anchor. These whales cannot reproduce without them. See Science - July 1990.

The Human Appendix
Loren G. Martin, professor of physiology at Oklahoma State University, believes that early in development the appendix serves as an important function of the immune system. He believes that the appendix "teaches" the immune system to distinguish dangerous pathogens from harmless food particles. Science Magazine

The Human Tail Bone
"Without the coccyx (the tailbone) and its attached muscle system, humans would need a radically different support system for their internal organs which would require numerous design changes in the human posterior,..." Vestigial Organs are Fully Functional - By Dr. Jerry Bergman & Dr. George Howe

I believe enough evidence exists that these organs or structures should no longer be listed in our science textbooks as "vestigial organs."

Much of the clip art on this site is courtesy of Phillip Martin.


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