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Vestigial organ

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A vestigial organ is traditionally an organ which no longer has a function, although evolutionists have changed the meaning to some extent in recent times. Evolution predicts many vestigial organs as creatures evolve new ways to perform the functions of old organs, leaving the old, now useless, organs until they eventually disappear or perhaps acquire a new function. Indeed, Charles Darwin mentioned such organs in his book The Origin of Species.

In 1890 scientists had listed 180 vestigial organs in humans alone. However, by the end of the 20th century, this list had shrunk to zero, with functions being known or likely for all such organs.[1] This has led to evolutionists now claiming that "vestigial" does not mean "without function", yet this was certainly the original meaning of the term.[1]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines them as: "Organs or structures remaining or surviving in a degenerate, atrophied, or imperfect condition or form."[2]


Claimed vestigial organs

Pelvic and leg bones of whales

The pelvic bones of whales are sometimes claimed as an example of vestigial structures, although their purpose is to provide support for the pelvic wall and as an anchor for some organs.[3]

There are also claims of vestigial leg bones in whales.[4] However, although the bones themselves exist, that they are vestigial leg bones is merely evolutionary interpretation.[5]

Human appendix

Charles Darwin suggested that the appendix is a remnant of a structure that helped our ancestors to digest food. However, recent research suggests that it may function as a reservoir for beneficial stomach bacteria (the "gut flora").[6]

Human "tails"

The coccyx in humans is sometimes known as the "tailbone", which evolutionists sometimes claim to be a vestigial tail. Also, people are sometimes born with what appears to be a rudimentary "tail". However, the coccyx is not a functionless bone, but an important anchoring point for muscles.[7]. And the "tails" are not proper tails with vertebrae, muscles, blood vessels, etc., but some fatty tissue and skin.[8] That such tails are not evolutionary throwback is also apparent from one example which was not near the lower end of the spine, but high on the back.[9]

See also



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