We have to follow where the evidence leads us, and we finally find an important function for the adult appendix: as a reserve ammunition pouch.

Though it may look vaguely like a hand grenade, the solid white structure in the X-ray is actually someone’s appendix, visible only because it is full of shotgun pellets — so full, in fact, that it is stretched to about three times its normal size.

The patient, a 73-year-old Inuit woman at Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, had probably been swallowing the pellets inadvertently for decades, in the meat of ducks and geese shot by local hunters.

So if you’re ever stranded in the Great White North, short of ammo for your shotgun, find an Inuit with bad teeth and do an emergency appendectomy. I expect to see this turn up as a plot point in a Michael Crichton novel any day now.