once upon a time … our organs!

New scientific imaging technologies allow us today to explore the human body to retrace its history.

There are those that are vital to us, others that we don’t need, some millions of years old, some newer, but all of them are more or less fascinating: these are our organs. .

In the documentary film “The secret history of our body”, Thursday at 8:50 pm on France 5, discover the research of scientists who, in the four corners of the world, reconstruct the chronology of our organs and reveal the incredible mechanisms that have shaped them.

Slow evolution

We use our organs every day without even realizing it. However, even today, it is difficult to establish their exact number. The opinions of specialists diverge, less by scientific lacuna than for a semantic question. If we base ourselves on the most common definition, “a set of tissues contributing to the performance of a physiological function” and according to school textbooks, we would have some eighty organs.

That being said, their interest lies more in their evolutionary history than in the numerical accuracy of their presence. It was by studying fossils that scientists were able to understand how our eyes, for example, could have become the complex organs they are today. “We have to go back between 400 to 500 million years ago for a first model of an eye to be formed,” says paleontologist Gavin Young in the documentary.

Astonishing discoveries also teach us more about our ears, which were initially made from the bones of the jaw. Biologist Vera Weisbecker has been studying the subject for many years. “The middle ear of mammals is the result of an incredible transformation. The jaw joint in our reptile ancestors became an organ of hearing made up of small bones that conduct sound. We literally get along with what allowed our ancestors to chew. ”

Little new

In recent years, various scientists have announced that they have discovered new organs. Until recently, the mesentery, which connects the intestine with the abdominal walls, was considered a collection of different separate structures.

J. Calvin Coffey, an Irish professor of surgery, and his team studied the mesentery for several years to demonstrate that it was an organ in its own right. What interest ? By determining the anatomy and structure of this organ, researchers can now investigate its function and, for example, its role in certain abdominal diseases.

We do without!

If we can’t do without a heart, brain, or liver, we might be able to shed some of our organs without too much trouble. This is the case with the spleen, colon, stomach, uterus, testes, ovaries or gall bladder.

But the most famous “useless” is without doubt the appendix. A kind of cul de sac, this small organ located at the junction of the large intestine and the small intestine can become problematic if too many foreign elements accumulate there. Formerly considered a vestige of herbivores with no useful function for humans, its removal, appendectomy, was for a long time a routine surgical procedure.

“Today, the number of appendectomies has been very reduced”, we nevertheless explain on Futura Sciences website. “Because we realize that the appendix could constitute a” refuge “for the” good “microbes of the intestine.”

This article appeared in Télépro on 1/14/2021

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