ANALYSIS – Long considered an anatomical relic, the appendix could constitute a real evolutionary advantage.
Darwin was wrong! One hundred and fifty years ago, the English scientist estimated that the appendix in humans was only a “Useless vestige”, residue of how the digestive tract has evolved as the fiber content in the human diet decreases.
A hypothesis which was reasonable at the time, given the little knowledge about this area of the intestine, but which lasted for a long time. “The appendix is a bit like the spleen: as we can live without it, we imagine that it is useless, but we are only beginning to understand what functions it could well conceal”, notes Éric Ogier-Denis, research director at Inserm and specialist in inflammatory processes in the intestine.
With three colleagues, he has just published, in the Journal of Anatomy , work that for the first time establishes a correlation between the presence of a cecal appendix and greater longevity in mammals. Data that illuminates from an angle
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