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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CB360:

Practically all "vestigial" organs in man have been shown to have definite uses and not to be vestigial at all.


Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 75-76.


  1. "Vestigial" does not mean an organ is useless. A vestige is a "trace or visible sign left by something lost or vanished" (G. & C. Merriam 1974, 769). Examples from biology include leg bones in snakes, eye remnants in blind cave fish (Yamamoto and Jeffery 2000), extra toe bones in horses, wing stubs on flightless birds and insects, and molars in vampire bats. Whether these organs have functions is irrelevant. They obviously do not have the function that we expect from such parts in other animals, for which creationists say the parts are "designed."

    Vestigial organs are evidence for evolution because we expect evolutionary changes to be imperfect as creatures evolve to adopt new niches. Creationism cannot explain vestigial organs. They are evidence against creationism if the creator follows a basic design principle that form follows function, as H. M. Morris himself expects (1974, 70). They are compatible with creation only if anything and everything is compatible with creation, making creationism useless and unscientific.

  2. Some vestigial organs can be determined to be useless if experiments show that organisms with them survive no better than organisms without them.


Theobald, Douglas, 2004. 29+ Evidences for macroevolution: Prediction 2.1: Anatomical vestiges.


  1. G. & C. Merriam. 1974. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  2. Morris, H., 1974. (see above).
  3. Yamamoto, Y. and W. R. Jeffery., 2000. Central role for the lens in cave fish eye degeneration. Science 289: 631-633.

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created 2003-5-29