Are Any Organs Really “Vestigial”?
FOR many years various organs of the human body were called “vestigial” by evolutionists, that is, the last vestiges of organs that supposedly once had a use, but were no longer needed because of the claimed advance up the evolutionary ladder. Of interest in this regard is the small gland that is shaped like a pinecone and hence called the “pineal” gland. Though it is located near the center of the brain, it is not part of the brain. “Until very recently” it was thought that “the pineal in man served no biologic purpose and was merely a vestige,” reported the journal Hospital Practice. Now the pineal has been shown “to possess a unique ability to produce melatonin.” This is a substance that affects the brain, the reproductive system, as well as the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands.
Scientists believe that in man the pineal gland “exerts a control over the body, specifically by regulating the body clock.” (Science Digest, September 1972) The pineal does this evidently by secreting various chemicals. Thus it is believed that the pineal gland may chemically supervise many of the involuntary activities of the human body, such as helping to make body temperatures increase during the daytime and decrease at night.
Another gland long thought to be useless is the thymus. In an article entitled “The ‘Useless’ Gland That Guards Our Health,” Reader’s Digest stated:
“For at least 2000 years, doctors have puzzled over the function of a pinkish-grey bit of tissue lying just below the neck and behind the breastbone—the thymus gland. . . . Modern physicians came to regard it, like the appendix, as a useless, vestigial organ which had lost its original purpose, if indeed it ever had one.
“In the last few years, however, the dogged detective work of a small band of Americans, Britons, Australians and Swedes have cracked the thymus enigma. These men have proved that, far from being useless, the thymus is really the master gland that regulates the intricate immunity system which protects us against infectious diseases. . . .
“But is the thymus the only organ regulating our immunity system? Recent experiments have led researchers to believe that the appendix, tonsils and adenoids [once these too were tagged as vestigial] may also figure in the antibody responses.”