The Appendix and the Tonsils: Vestigial?

From Issue: Discovery 8/1/2004

Have you ever had your tonsils taken out? How about your appendix? These parts of your body can cause a lot of pain when something goes wrong with them. When it’s your tonsils, you might feel like you have a sore throat. When it’s your appendix, you might feel like you have a really bad stomachache. Either way, these two little organs in your body may seem to be more trouble than they’re worth!

Many scientists in the past have said that the tonsils and the appendix were vestigial—useless leftovers of evolution. They said that our evolutionary ancestors might have used them, but we don’t need them anymore. Because of this “discovery,” scientists tried to say that evolution was true. After more study, though, scientists have actually found that both of these “unimportant” organs do more than was once thought.

The appendix is a worm-shaped organ that is found just below your belly button, and slightly to the right. Today, when you get a cold, you can fight it off easily, and it goes away fairly quickly. But when you were first born, it was more difficult for your body to fight off even a simple cold! We now know that your appendix helped guard you from all kinds of microscopic germs that might have tried to enter your body while you were a very small child. Even as you get older, your appendix has special tissue inside of it that continues to fight off germs for you. Plus, researchers have discovered that the appendix helps fight certain types of cancer cells.

Your tonsils are two round, white spots that can be found in the back of your throat, one on each side. Like the appendix, most people thought that the tonsils were evidence of evolution because they supposedly didn’t do anything. Scientists now know that tonsils actually do the same thing as the appendix—fight off germs! Learning more about the appendix and tonsils helps us to understand that our bodies are not accidents formed by evolution. Tonsils and the appendix are not leftovers of evolution, but are important body parts designed and created by God.


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