(From the Independent, CNN, BBC and a load of medical websites recently ……)
A new organ has been discovered hiding in plain sight inside the human body.
Known as the mesentery, it was previously thought to be just a few fragmented structures in the digestive system, but scientists have realised it is in fact one, continuous organ.
Although its function is still unclear, the discovery opens up “a whole new area of science,” according to J Calvin Coffey, a researcher at the University Hospital Limerick who first discovered it.
The research has been published in The Lancet medical journal. Following its reclassification, medical students are now being taught that the mesentery is a distinct organ. Gray’s Anatomy, the world’s most famous medical textbook, has been updated to include the new definition.
It was described by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci in 1508, but it has been ignored throughout the centuries, until now.
I am Joe’s mesentery.
Joe doesn’t think about me very much, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever read in the Reader’s Digest about Joe’s casual relationship with his body parts. Joe doesn’t think about his heart either, or his nose, skin, larynx, tongue or medulla oblongata, though possibly in the case of the last one it’s because he thinks it’s a star system that was once visited by the Enterprise.
This is because Joe is a dick, fittingly the one organ that he thinks about almost non-stop.
So Joe’s ignorance of my existence doesn’t annoy me at all. What does is the fact that it is only now, almost two million years after mankind first stood on two legs so that it could scratch under one armpit, that medical science has recognised me, and even still has to admit that it has no idea what I do.
I’ll tell it what I do. I and the other organs of the intestinal system are like the factory workers in a huge global conglomerate – the unsung heroes, the ones who do the real work, the ones who make sure that shit happens, quite literally in Joe’s case.
Seriously, if medical science wants to question the function of organs, it should take a look at the earlobe.
What really gets me to vent my spleen (yes, I have one, and it has organs too, you humans are like Babooshka dolls) is that Leonardo da Vinci told people about me more than five hundred years ago. After all, he turned out to be right about the helicopter, the calculator and the teenage mutant ninja turtle (hang on, that might be the wrong Leonardo) so why didn’t anyone listen to him about me?
Still, better late than never. The Lancet, supposedly the bible of medical knowledge, has finally admitted that I exist. It’s the journal’s biggest back-down since it had to acknowledge in its May 1543 issue that the Adam’s Apple is not, in fact, a fruit.
And I’m going to be included in Gray’s Anatomy. Hopefully I get to sleep with Meredith.