Anatomy And Physiology

Unusual Facts about the Human Body

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The human body is filled with astonishing facts.  To think that we were all a single cell that continually split into the trillions of cells that make us who we are today is pretty amazing in itself.  Along with this, there are a plethora of facts about the human body that are simply unbelievable when you hear them.  These unusual facts can be shocking and humorous, but more importantly, they are fun.  Here are ten to get you started. 

1. Many body parts are unnecessary for survival

Much of the inside of our body contains parts that we no longer need for survival.  They are leftovers from our prehistoric ancestors that are still prevalent in our body, but really do nothing to aid our survival.  The most obvious is wisdom teeth.  Since all they do in modern times is cause pain by crowding the space in your mouth, many teenagers have them removed.  Another body part you can have removed with no side effects whatsoever is your appendix.  Other body parts that have no real use in modern times include the coccyx, the vomeronasal organ, the female vans deferens, and the male uterus.   You would also be able to survive with the removal of the spleen, one kidney, one lung, 75% of the liver or 80% of the intestines.  However, these would result in lifestyle changes, unlike the removal of your wisdom teeth or appendix. 

2. Every minute 300,000,000 cells in your body die.

The lifespan of a cell is rather short when compared to the typical lifespan of humans.  Losing 300,000,000 cells shouldn’t make you worry, however.  It is estimated that your body has between 10-50 trillion cells.  Your body is also always producing new ones as well, at a rate of 300 billion a day.  Your body is built to keep repairing and building new cells to keep your organs healthy and in tip-top shape.

3. Human bones are stronger than steel

This is true if you look at the comparison pound by pound.  Bone has a tensile strength of 20,000 psi (pounds per square inch), while steel has a tensile strength of 70,000 psi.  Even though steel has a much higher psi, it is also much heavier.  In fact, it is about 4.5 times as heavy as bone, which makes bone stronger per pound. 

4. Humans are taller in the morning

Throughout a typical day, our daily activities compress the cartilage between bones.  Over the course of the day, the cartilage is compressed so much that it actually shortens our body by about a centimeter by the end of the day.

5. You are the only one who smells like you

Unless you have an identical twin, your smell is unique.  Even if you are an identical twin, diet and personal hygiene could make you smell as unique as everyone else on this planet.  This unique smell is mostly determined by genetics, but environment also plays a rule.  This unique smell helps newborns to recognize their mothers, and it may even have a role in helping us pick significant others.

6. Sleep is more important than food.

Depending on several factors, it is possible for humans to survive a month or two without food, especially if they are consuming enough water.  However, just a few sleepless days can result in radical personality and psychological changes.  Eleven days of no sleep is the record, and that person was hallucinating and having problems speaking.  Although this can also happen without food, many experts believe that as long as you have water you can survive longer without food than you can without sleep, depending on your body composition. 

7. Your stomach acid can dissolve many types of metal

A healthy stomach has a ph balance of 2, which is considered highly acidic on the ph scale.  This acidity is necessary for digestion of food.  However, the digestive acids would also dissolve the stomach lining if it’s not regularly replaced.  Every three to four days, we get a new stomach lining, which releases mucus around the lining of the stomach.  An ulcer occurs when that lining wears away and the acid is no longer safely encased.

8. Your heart is a relentless machine

Your heart, which is roughly the size of your clenched fist, pumps blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels every day.  It beats roughly 100,000 times a day, and it never stops to rest.  It also creates enough pressure to squirt blood up to thirty feet.

9. Your brain holds more information than your computer

Your brain actually has the ability to remember everything that you experience, see, read, and hear.  The problem is recalling it.  The definitive amount of information it can hold is unknown, but scientists believe the brain can hold somewhere between 3 and 1,000 terabytes of information.  Computer memory is usually referred to in megabytes, which is much smaller than a terabyte.  Also, we’ve all heard about computers overloading from too much information, but has anyone ever heard of a brain overload?

10. Our largest organ sheds over a pound a year

Skin is the largest organ in the human body.  Every hour, we shed about 600,000 skin particles, which equals about a pound and a half every year.  At this rate, the average person sheds about 105 pounds by age 70.  Our skin sheds dead cells because it is constantly renewing itself to maintain its strength.  This way it can be strong enough to do its job in protecting our interior body parts. 

These ten facts are barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unusual facts about the human body.  There are so many more available, and with scientists still discovering new things about how our body functions, they will surely be finding new unusual tidbits about how our body works and why.

More about this author: Susan Smalls

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