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Anal glands in all kinds of animals play a range of diverse functions - providing fat for preening feathers or waterproofing fur, generating distinct scent, even repelling predators.

None of the resources I found about human anal glands ever mention their function. There's info or infections, location, treatment of problems related to them, but never a word about a role they might serve - if any. Are they vestigial organs without any role or do they have some evolutionary purpose?

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never heard of a human anal gland –  WYSIWYG Aug 14 at 15:58
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@WYSIWYG: Here. –  SF. Aug 14 at 16:02
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my anal glands produce a distinct scent... –  MattDMo Aug 14 at 17:29
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@MattDMo: uh... comparing to whose? No, wait, scratch that question. –  SF. Aug 14 at 19:31
    
This question may have more to do with a depreciation in the ability to detect anal secretions than with the function of the glands themselves. –  mattkaeo Aug 15 at 8:57

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

They are vital if not incredibly useful in many other mammals but not humans. People have tried to look for a role and seen that they activate in times of stress or anxiety. However this probably only serves to heighten both stress and anxiety as you now also don't smell that great either. There is no identifiable role in humans apart from causing a variety of disorders such as an abcess.

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