A new organ has been discovered hiding in plain sight inside the human body.
The organ is known as the mesentery and it was previously thought to be just a few fragmented structures in the digestive system.
But now scientists at the University of Limerick 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 UL who first discovered it.
“When we approach it like every other organ… we can categorise abdominal disease in terms of this organ,” he said.
“Now we have established anatomy and the structure. The next step is the function. If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease.
“Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science.”