Why the rediscovery of Mesentery, a new human organ, is significant

Can we really confine science or education to exactness of discipline and form?

 |  2-minute read |   05-01-2017
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So, now we have 79 organs owing to the rediscovery of mesentery. The new organ is a double fold of peritoneum — the lining of the abdominal cavity — that holds our intestine to the wall of our abdomen. J Calvin Coffey, a professor at the University of Limerick, reclassified mesentery after discovering it was contiguous.

While the pharmaceutical industry will now work harder to find what role mesentery might play in abdominal diseases, this may lead to new cures which will boast of low-cost treatments.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Da Vinci, the autodidactic polymath, must be turning in his grave, saying "I told you so". In fact, it was Da Vinci, who first described mesentery in 1508.

That made me think if we could really confine science (or education for that matter) to exactness of discipline and form, or should we keep all disciplines more open.

After all, the polymath’s discovery, dated centuries back, had been ignored and only rediscovered now.

Leonardo da Vinci Da first described mesentery in 1508. (Credit: PTI)

Shouldn’t then the approach to teaching be more flexible and have the option of mixing disciplines, rather than just keeping any stream confined. Recent research works have indicated that the study of an instrument can encourage the learning of mathematics. So, should we really be dividing streams into science, arts and humanities? Should children who learn science not be open to learning literature.  

After all, what Da Vinci learnt in his lifetime was not through a college degree, yet his intellect surpassed the ordinary realm of knowledge. We have still not studied what he learnt in his lifetime. So, can we confine knowledge or the ability to be an expert to colleges and universities and the degrees they impart? Can learning be confined to institutions and not the other way around?

Perhaps some might argue that learning has to be driven through a structure and a pattern of qualifying examination to test knowledge. Others seem to have a more applied approach to the subject of learning. Well, no one would like to visit a doctor who is experimental with his approach, yet this experimental approach would be required if we are looking for a breakthrough in a certain field — for example, treatment of cancer.

So, till the time a new approach is taken, let's say cheers to mesentery!

Also read: Why are our universities becoming back-offices of corporates?


Madhulika Ra Chauhan Madhulika Ra Chauhan @madhulika_ra

Author, currently residing in China.