Vermiform appendix

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Definition

noun, plural: vermiform appendixes

(anatomy) A worm-shaped, vestigial process extending from the lower blind end of the cecum


Supplement

The vermiform appendix is a blind-ended tube that projects from the cecum. The term vermiform comes from Latin and it means worm-shaped. Thus, the vermiform appendix is a projection that is worm-shaped connected to the cecum. The average size of a human vermiform appendix is about 9 cm in length whereas the diameter is generally between 7 and 8 mm. It is often found in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. Its position corresponds to the so-called McBurney's point.

For herbivores, the vermiform appendix is essential since it is responsible for the breaking down of cellulose present in the cell wall of plants. In humans and other animals, it became a redundant process since it has no particular daily function. Nevertheless, it is postulated to be associated with maintaining gut flora, particularly during a recovery from diarrhea.1


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Reference(s):
1 Bollinger, R. R., Barbas, A. S., Bush, E. L., Lin, S. S., & Parker, W. (21 December 2007). "Biofilms in the large bowel suggest an apparent function of the human vermiform appendix". Journal of Theoretical Biology 249(4): 826–831

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