The new year (2017 for you time travelers) is clearly working on a way to make up for everything that 2016 took from us. For starters, we’re all getting fresh, new organs. You get an organ, you get an organ… everybody gets an organ! Way better than bees *cough* Oprah *cough*
Okay, it was an organ that you had all along, but its located deep inside you and you only now know you’ve had it because scientists have just discovered it. Behold… the mesentery!
Now, I know you’re thinking; we’ve been cutting up corpses since… well, forever. So, how can we have an organ we are only now finding out about? The new organ, which “connects a person’s small and large intestines to the abdominal wall and anchors them in place,” was originally thought to be a complicated set of membranes, but scientists now realize that presumption was wrong. Dead wrong, one would say… since scientists in Ireland discovered the mistake with the aid of cadavers. Their findings were published in The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology back in November of 2016.
Naturally, the first person to propose that the mesentery is an organ was, you guessed it, Leonardo da Vinci. Turns out he identified the organ as a single structure during one of his own legendary corpse studies.
“Whether the mesentery should be viewed as part of the intestinal, vascular, endocrine, cardiovascular or immunological systems is so far unclear, as it has important roles in all of them,” the authors of the study said in a released statement. Now that we know more about the mesentery, we can use that information to help study intestinal disease and aid modern surgical procedures.
Now, if we can only figure out what those worthless appendixes are for, I can finally die happy.