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The Appendix Serves As a Reservoir of Beneficial Bacteria

Sun, 07/08/2012 - 11:46am
Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog

This is an interesting explanation for the purpose of the appendix.

The appendix does have a use – re-booting the gut

The US scientists found that the appendix acted as a “good safe house” for bacteria essential for healthy digestion, in effect re-booting the digestive system after the host has contracted diseases such as amoebic dysentery or cholera, which kill off helpful germs and purge the gut.

This function has been made obsolete by modern, industrialised society; populations are now so dense that people pick up essential bacteria from each other, allowing gut organisms to regrow without help from the appendix, the researchers said.

But in earlier centuries, when vast tracts of land were more sparsely populated and whole regions could be wiped out by an epidemic of cholera, the appendix provided survivors with a vital individual stockpile of suitable bacteria.

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