Human anatomy can be fascinatingly mysterious. From how your eyes have 26 bones to how stomach acid can dissolve razor blades, there are so many astonishing facts that may surprise or amuse. Here are some fun and intriguing body facts you may not be aware of!
2. You’re the only animal that weeps.
There is so much to marvel over in science, from atoms that make up your body to galaxies beyond. What you may not realize is that your own body is also an incredible place of wonders – YouTube science channel AsapSCIENCE recently put together a video exploring some of these incredible feats of engineering!
Humans are unique among all animals in that weep alone. While some experts theorize this may be related to an evolutionary history in which babies would squeeze their eyes tight in fear as they called out for their mothers, others believe it has more to do with our need to express emotions like sadness, grief and loss – we possess neural pathways in our brains which connect emotional stimuli such as tragedy to emotional responses – these co-evolved with language and culture development.
Your eyes may blink 20 times every minute and your lifetime saliva production could fill two swimming pools! Your height may stop increasing after puberty but you still possess 2.5 million sweat pores in your skin and fart enough each day to fill a party balloon! And although your appendix may no longer exist, its bacteria still exist within you; while stomach acid has the ability to dissolve metal.
3. You have a one-of-a-kind tongue print.
As is true with fingerprints, every human’s tongue print is distinct. This uniqueness stems from how papillae lay across its surface; scientists recognize its potential use as biometric identification in future.
The tongue serves many important functions for us humans: tasting food and moving it around while we chew, translating sounds to understandable words, pushing saliva down our throats to swallow it, as well as providing feedback about our health by way of its colour and texture. But it may be most remarkable feature is its ability to reveal internal health: its colour and texture may reveal stress or dehydration levels or reveal whether we need more water intake.
Our bodies are remarkable machines. There’s so much we can learn from them, from how our skin regenerates to heal papercuts to farting enough each day to fill an entire party balloon! So next time you stick out your tongue, take a moment and appreciate that each part is truly one-of-a-kind and all the amazing ways it helps us remain alive and healthy each day.
4. Your liver can almost completely regrow.
The liver plays an essential role in our health, performing more than 500 functions that include regulating blood sugar, producing vitamins, maintaining proper thickness of blood, keeping muscles from twitching and clearing medications and alcohol from our systems. Without it, death would come quickly; its high regenerative capacity allows damaged parts of itself to regenerate more quickly than most visceral organs.
Scientists had speculated that liver regeneration slows as you get older, but a recent study from Mumbai’s Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital disproved this belief by finding both transplanted and remnant livers regenerate more quickly than initially estimated.
Radiocarbon dating of 33 people who died between ages 20 and 84 revealed that on average their livers had aged similarly regardless of undergoing surgical removals of dead parts. They believe this to be due to blood-clotting protein fibrinogen’s role in regulating how fast livers regenerate themselves.
5. You have cilia in your nose.
Cilia are tiny hair-like structures found lining nasal passages and larger airways to keep out dust particles, germs and pollutants from entering our lungs. Their constant movement sweeps away mucus across our respiratory tract to keep lungs clear. If due to an inherited condition they do not function as intended symptoms such as runny nose and sinus infection may arise.
Cilia are composed of motor proteins similar to those found in muscles, which allow them to move around their cells and sweep mucus along the respiratory tract. These motor proteins are powered by an energy source called ATP that forms when they bind with microtubules; then these motor proteins utilize this source of power for movement.
The structure of a nose is divided into two nostrils by a wall made up of bone and firm cartilage known as a septum, while it further divides into four pairs of air-filled sinuses that produce thick, watery mucus we breathe out through our noses. Turbinates in our tissues warm and moisten air before it enters our nasal cavities while cilia in nasal passages and sinuses help maintain consistent mucus production.
Cilia that aren’t functioning correctly can contribute to conditions like runny nose, sinus infection and allergic rhinitis. Cilia that don’t function correctly may also result in taste sensation loss – a condition known as anosmia.
6. You have blue eyes.
There are approximately 27% of Americans with blue eyes – not the rarest or rarest eye color, but uncommon nonetheless. Why do so many of us have blue eyes? Having them comes down to genetics: your parents both shared one ancestor. Blue eyes occur when there is less melanin present in the first layer of iris cells allowing more light through and reflecting off back out, creating that “sky-blue” effect; meaning those with blue eyes might be more sensitive to sunlight than those with brown ones.