MAYBE THE APPENDIX IS USEFUL AFTER ALL. Many of the things I learned in high school health classes fifty years ago now appear to be wrong. It may be I can add to that list the theory that the human appendix serves no biological purpose. This article by Bec Crew on the Science Alert website (January 10 2017) offers two reasons why the appendix may be useful.

The first reason is that the appendix “has evolved at least 29 times – possibly as many as 41 times – throughout mammalian evolution, and has only been lost a maximum of 12 times”. The argument is that this natural selection record suggests that the appendix provides a survival advantage. The weakness of the argument is that it does not identify what that advantage might be.

The second reason is inconclusive evidence suggesting that the appendix is useful because “it’s a haven for ‘good’ intestinal bacteria that help us keep certain infections at bay”.

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