Our bodies really are wonderful machines that surprise us each and every day and you can never learn too much about yourself. With that in mind, here’s some human body facts that will totally blow your mind! But first, a quick disclaimer: Your brain won’t actually explode…
1. You can bite through a finger as easily as you can a carrot
A pretty gross way to start, but it really is true. The bone in your finger is no denser than a carrot, but the only reason you don’t bite it off like a carrot, is because, well, it’s a finger. Also, it would bring a frightening element to any Christmas Eve treats left out for Rudolph…
2. Humans have more than five senses
There could actually be as many as 9, 21, or even more! It’s up for debate as far as scientists are concerned because it depends how you define ‘sense’. Is sight one? Or can it be split into light and color? Somebody call Bruce Willis, because he thought he was onto something with just six.
3. Your ears and nose never stop growing
Well technically they don’t grow, they just droop thanks to our old friend – gravity. This happens to a lot of our body parts but is especially noticeable in the ears and nose. Don’t worry though, it’s not like Pinocchio-level noticeable so no one’s going to start calling you a liar.
4. You are born with more bones than you die with
Babies are born with around 300 bones, and by the time you die you only have 205. This is why babies are way more flexible than us adults. The bones don’t just dissolve or disappear, though; they actually fuse together to create stronger, adult bones for when life starts to get hard.
5. You can’t lick your elbow
You just tried it, didn’t you? And? Unless you’re super double-jointed and work in the circus, you’ll find that you aren’t physically able to do it. Not that you should ever need to lick your elbow, but it’s fun to tell people this fact and see your friends and family try and give it a shot.
6. Your liver can almost completely regrow
The liver has a unique capacity among organs to regenerate itself after damage. A liver can regrow to a normal size even after up to 90% of it has been removed. But the liver isn’t invincible. Many diseases and exposures can harm it beyond the point of repair.
7. Humans are the only animals that weep
Ever heard of crocodile tears? Yeah, well they aren’t the only heartless animals; in fact, it seems that we are the most emotional species. Other animals do create tears in order to lubricate their eyes, but we are the only ones whose bodies produce tears when we feel exceptionally happy or sad.
8. Your tongue is as unique as your fingerprint
Obviously, if you rob a bank, you’re less likely to have licked a lot of the surfaces before you made your escape, which is probably why they just stick with fingerprints for identification purposes. With that being said, your tongue has its own unique geometry and physiological texture which makes it one-of-a-kind.
9. Tastebuds dull over time
The tastebuds that you have do not disappear over time, but they do change in function and diminish in the sense that they become less sensitive. This could be one explanation for why young people hate red wine and older people love it.
10. Earwax is good for you
This doesn’t mean that you should eat it (don’t pretend you haven’t tried it…). However, this gross, green stuff plays a vital part in protecting your body from disease and keeping dust out of your ears. So, think about that next time you’re obsessively freeing your ears of wax.
11. Sneezes can travel up to 20 feet
This one was pretty well drilled into all of us during the pandemic, but it’s still a pretty cool fact if you think about it! Sneezes are one of the main ways that disease spreads and it’s no surprise that they spread quickly with a range of 25 feet as a possibility.
12. Your stomach has a second brain
The enteric nervous system that regulates our gut is often called the body’s “second brain.” Although it can’t compose poetry or solve equations, this extensive network uses the same chemicals and cells as the brain to help us digest and to alert the brain when something is amiss.
13. Your intestine is four times as long as you are
Don’t try this at home, but if you were to remove your intestine and lay it out end to end, it would measure over 22 feet. That’s about the length of a woolly mammoth. Now, imagine how long their intestines would have been.
14. Stomach acid dissolves razor blades
Not that you should go about swallowing razor blade, but if you did, your stomach would put up a pretty good fight. Our stomach acid has an average pH level of 2 – meaning that it is just slightly less acidic than most dangerous acids you’d find in a lab.
15. It’s impossible to tickle yourself
Even if you just tried, it’s very unlikely that you would be able to tickle yourself. This is because your brain’s cerebellum acts differently when it can predict that you are going to be tickled, as opposed to when you are the victim of a surprise tickle attack.
16. Big eyes cause nearsightedness
Yes, big, beautiful Bette Davis’ eyes are highly sought after, but they can actually cause you to have bad eyesight. Excessive growth of human eyes leads to myopia or nearsightedness, since the eyeball becomes too long and the light falling on the eye cannot be focused on the retina.
17. A blink is a micro-nap
Researchers in Japan have discovered that we don’t just blink to moisten our eyes, but that a blink can actually serve as a micro-nap. So if you’re ever super tired at work, just try blinking lots of times to see if that wakes you up, maybe also just try a coffee…
18. Humans glow, you just can’t see it
That’s right, we actually glow in the dark. Human bodies do emit light but it is 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive to, so you just can’t see it. This happens due to the amount of heat and energy that our bodies release.
19. Your posture affects your memory
A study that if you’re hunched over you’re more likely to remember negative things. 86% of people involved in the study reported that it was easier to recall/access negative memories in the collapsed position than in the erect position, and that it was easier to recall positive memories when sitting up straight.
20. Human nails grow faster today than they used to
If you feel like you have to trim your nails more than you used to, it’s not just your imagination. A 2010 study comparing the growth of fingernails and toenails to two previous studies from 70 and 50 years earlier found that growth had increased by almost a quarter over the decades.
21. If you went to space, you’d come back taller
If you’re looking for a growth spurt, join NASA. Astronauts really do come back taller from space due to the lack of gravity. This causes the vertebrae in their spines to spread apart, therefore lengthening the spine and causing a height increase of up to three centimetres!
22. Your hair helps the environment
Dirty hair can be good for the atmosphere: According to a 2008 study published in Atmospheric Environment, hair absorbs the air pollutant ozone. Scalp oils were found to be a major contributor to this, so if you want to do your part to help your local air quality, skip the shampoo!
23. Hair can taste
Well, maybe not the hair on your head, but the ones inside your nose and chest can! Your nasal passages and lungs are lined with fine hairs, or cilia, that detect and sweep out impurities. How do they detect it? By sensing the bitter tastes of the things passing through them.
24. Rollercoasters can toss your organs
You know when you’re on a rollercoaster and you get that sinking feeling? Well, this could be down to more than just an adrenaline rush. Researchers found that rollercoasters can actually cause our livers, stomachs, hearts, eyes and more to do flips.
25. We’re as hairy per square inch as chimpanzees
You might not think this is true, but if you take a closer look, you’ll find that you are pretty much entirely covered in hair. Hair is used to protect us from the elements and keep us warm, so almost all mammals have some form of hairy coat; you just can’t see our hairs as much as you can see a chimpanzee’s.
26. You share 60% of your DNA with a banana
We’re all relate. From the person next to us, to the chimps at the zoo, and even to the bananas the chimps are eating! We share a lot of our DNA with other living and non-living things on the planet and you’ll find that our genetic makeup is not that different to that of cats, either.
27. Your rear is your largest muscle
Nope, it’s not a joke. While there is some debate about which of your muscles is the strongest, your gluteus maximus happens to be your largest. These muscles help keep your body upright, move your hips and thighs, and work against gravity when you’re walking uphill or upstairs. No wonder you look great in those pants…
28. Half of your hand strength is in your pinkie
With a name like that, you might think that this little finger would be your weakest, but it actually does a lot of work! You wouldn’t be anywhere without it because it helps the thumb to pinch and gives more power to the ring, middle, and index fingers.
29. There are no muscles in your fingers
Ever lifted something really heavy and worried that you’ve pulled a muscle in your finger? Well, there’s no need to worry about that because it’s actually not possible. Your fingers are made up of tendons and bones and the muscles in the palm of your hand provide them with strength.
30. Your feet contain a quarter of your bones
If you’ve ever seen a skeleton’s foot, this one probably isn’t that hard to believe. The bone structure in our feet is incredibly intricate and has 26 bones in each foot. It makes sense if you think about it, our feet do carry us around all day.
31. Throughout your life, you will produce enough salvia to fill two pools
You might think that you’ve produced a lot of saliva when you wake up to a pool of dribble on your pillow, but you will actually produce around 20,000 liters of saliva in your life! Saliva is vital for keeping your mouth healthy and helping us to breakdown food for digestion.
32. Your bones are stronger than steel
While many of us experience a broken bone at some point in life, the fact is that bone is an incredibly tough substance. A bone has a greater pressure tolerance and bearing strength than a rod of steel of the same width. The strongest bone in the body is the femur, which can support 30 times the body weight of an average person.
33. Your stomach growls because it’s full of hot air
Ever wonder why your stomach growls when you’re hungry? This is down to your intestines. They use a series of contractions to help push food along the digestive system, and once all the food is gone, the hot air left inside the intestines will make a growling noise. Listen to your gut, have a snack.
34. Babies don’t have kneecaps
You’d think that our kneecaps would be a necessary part of the human body. Not for babies, their cartilage gradually turns into bone, as development begins between the ages of two and six years—and doesn’t fully finish until young adulthood.
35. We shed our skin like lizards
Okay, so it’s not quite as intense as when it happens to a lizard or to a snake but it is just as creepy. According to the American Chemical Society, humans shed their entire outer layer of skin every two to four weeks. That’s about 500 million skin cells a day!
36. You have over 60,000 miles of blood vessels
This includes every artery, capillary and vein, and that’s a whole lot. In fact, it’s enough to cover the whole circumference of the world and then have 20,000 miles left to spare. If this sounds too crazy to be true, think about how vital this network of blood vessels is in keeping you alive!
37. Your sweat is actually odorless
If you’ve ever come a sweaty gym sesh and smelt your workout clothes, you might disagree. However, it is not the sweat itself that smells, but the way that your sweat reacts with the bacteria on your skin. Pretty gross, but always good to know. Now, go and have a shower.
38. You’ll have a brand new skeleton in ten years
New decade, new you, right? Your skeletal system’s cells are constantly regenerating and, on average, the bones you have now will have completely regenerated in about a decade’s time. This does start to slow down as you age, however, with regeneration taking longer, causing bones to naturally become thinner.
39. Your hair is ‘dead’
No, not dead like you’ve bleached it too much and now it’s falling apart, but dead in the sense that it doesn’t have any alive nerve endings. This may seem a little gross, but you should be thankful for it. Otherwise a haircut would be as painful as surgery, which would definitely make it a less enjoyable self-care day.
40. New species of humans are still being discovered
You might think that homo sapiens were discovered years ago, and that’s kinda as far as it goes with human species discoveries. However, a new species of human that lived 500,000 years ago was just discovered in 2021. Homobodoensis is characterized by a particularly small brain; poor guy.