vestige
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /ˈvɛ.stɪd͡ʒ/
Noun

vestige (plural vestiges)

  1. The mark of the foot left on the earth.
    Synonyms: trace, sign, track, footstep
  2. (by extension) A faint mark or visible sign left by something which is lost, or has perished, or is no longer present.
    Synonyms: remains
    the vestiges of ancient magnificence in Palmyra
    vestiges of former population
  3. (biology) A vestigial organ; a non-functional organ or body part that was once functional in an evolutionary ancestor.
    • 1904 Transactions of the […] annual session, Volume 40, Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, p160
      Any person seeing such a condition could not help being frightened at the conditions found, and it seems to me that that fact should lead us to think that the appendix is a vestige or becoming so.
    • 1932 John Arthur Thomson, Riddles of science, Ayer Publishing, p824
      Now this paired organ of Jacobsen began in reptiles and is well developed in many mammals. But in man it is a vestige, often disappearing altogether; and the two openings are closed.
    • 2007 R. Randal Bollingera, Andrew S. Barbasa, Errol L. Busha, Shu S. Lina, & William Parkera, "Biofilms in the large bowel suggest an apparent function of the human vermiform appendix," Journal of Theoretical Biology
      This idea was confirmed by Scott, who performed a detailed comparative analysis of primate anatomy and demonstrated conclusively that the appendix is derived for some unidentified function and is not a vestige.
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