The human body sure is a fascinating thing, even if it can be a little gross to think about. Your personal organic machine performs thousands of functions you don't even notice, and is capable of much more than you know!
Here are some of the best amazing, freaky and strange facts about the human body. Enjoy! And make sure to check out the sources for even more wild biology.
A single human sperm contains the 37.5 MB of male DNA required to create a human child. That means an average ejaculation contains almost 1,500 terabytes of information.
The Gold RushGiphy
There is actually mineral gold swimming around in your bloodstream right now, but its only approximately 0.2 milligrams diffused among your cells. You would need to bleed 40,000 people dry just to collect enough blood to make an 8-gram coin.
According to biologists, the human brain has approximately 90 billion nerve cells which are linked together by trillions of connections called synapses. Even more complex than the supercomputers of today, this system of elaborate connections provides trillions of pathways that brain signals can travel through. Recently it was discovered that the human brain can hold almost a petabyte of information, that's over 1 million gigabytes.
In an effort to mimic this digitally, scientists a few years ago needed more than 82,000 processors running on one of the worlds fastest supercomputers just to mimic one single second of human brain activity.
Run For Your LifeGiphy
Human beings are the best long distance runners on the planet. We might not have a top speed comparable to many animals. However, a combination of long springy legs excellent at storing energy and an efficient cooling system that diffuses heat through our skin make a human in peak physical condition capable of running down prey until it is too exhausted to move.
There are even some scientists who believe that our enhanced intelligence was developed to remember clues and details needed to track prey over long distances.
Sometimes your body will activate its immune system against normal body parts for seemingly no reason. This is called an autoimmune disease and one of the most frequently affected body parts is the eyes. If you've ever heard of someone with Graves disease, its the result of antibodies attacking the thyroid.
When we form as a blastocyst before becoming a fetus. The anus is created first. Which means our arses are made before anything else, we are at some point just butts. That means humans are deuterostomic animals, literally meaning mouth second. Starfish, sea cucumbers and all kinds of other animals share this characteristic.
When you get a kidney-transplant, they don't take the bad one(s) out unless there is a serious risk of repeated infection. So you basically end up having 3 kidneys.
From what I understand, they leave all of them hooked up, because even if one is only functioning at 1%, it's still performing a little bit of a function. Oh yeah, and the operation to remove an organ is always a big deal and the kidneys are rather tricky ones, because they are in the so called retroperitoneum.
A typical cough starts with a deep breath, followed by a compression of air in the lungs and then a crackling burst as that air is forced out in a fraction of a second.
The average human cough would fill about three-quarters of a two-liter soda bottle with air air that shoots out of the lungs in a jet several feet long. Coughs also force out thousands of tiny droplets of saliva. About 3,000 droplets are expelled in a single cough, and some of them fly out of the mouth at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
Uh, can we not?Giphy
You may or may not have a protein in your brain that is bent the wrong way. Most likely you don't, but if you do, it's going to convince the other proteins that they should also bend that way, and it will create an imbalance in your brain that can lead to illness.
Your sense of smell works by your nose capturing and sensing particles of whatever's in your nose at the moment.
This means that whatever you're smelling, there are tiny particles of it stuck in your nose.
Meconium, which is what makes up a baby's first few poops, is the result of hair and skin and other stuff they ingest while in the uterus. Even though it looks super gross its perfectly normal. However it can also create blockages in the infant in rare cases.
There are actually fascinating structural differences between the ways eyes have developed between human women and men. Men's eyes are naturally able to track quickly moving objects more easily and detect detail from a distance.
Meanwhile women's eyes have developed an increased sensitivity to colour, and are able to determine a much greater range of hues in the colour spectrum. This is theorized to have stemmed from our evolution in a hunter-gatherer lifestyle where those traits were helpful for hunting and determining poisonous plants.
The building blocks of life!Giphy
There exists an enzyme called Telemorase attached to the ends of DNA strands almost like the tips of shoelaces. Since they prevent the DNA from undergoing apoptosis they can theoretically make our cells immortal. They become smaller and are eventually turned off after repeated cellular division. However it is one of the first things that cancer cells re-activate to make them immortal.
An adult is made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms. For perspective, there's a 'measly' 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars in our galaxy.
In a ground-breaking study, Swedish scientists have shown that people can detect nano-scale wrinkles as small as 13 nanometers while running their fingers upon a seemingly smooth surface.
For scale, if your finger was the size of the Earth, you could feel the difference between houses from cars.
Can you believe?Giphy
A sneeze starts at the back of the throat and produces as many as 40,000 droplets — some of which rocket out at speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. The vast majority of the droplets are less than 100 microns across- the width of a human hair. Many of them are so tiny that they cannot even be seen with the naked eye.
If a person is sick, the droplets in a single cough may contain as many as two hundred million individual virus particles.
The number varies dramatically and changes over the course of an infection as the immune system clears out the virus. Generally, a sick person is most infectious as soon as the first symptoms appear and less infectious as his or her immune system clears the virus.
Can you see me now?Giphy
Our pupils are rounded to give us a predatory advantage in the wilderness. Circular pupils make for easier all around vision with the ability to focus on objects in the distance. While some predators like cats have elongated pupils to ambush prey, generally speaking a wider pupil is reserved for animals who need to keep an eye out for predators in open surroundings.
Are you my mummy?Giphy
There's something called the Lazarus reflex. It's a reflex movement in brain-dead patients similar to a spinal pain reflex. It causes them to briefly raise their arms and drop them crossed on their chests in a position similar to the classic image of Egyptian mummies.
Under the skinGiphy
The average humans skin makes up 16% of their body by weight, translating to roughly 1.6 trillion skin cells in total. Your skin is constantly regenerating, and around 30-40 thousand skin cells will fall off every hour. Left all over the place without you even noticing, those cells will become food for microscopic dust mites.
If you managed to weigh all the dead skin you shed in a year, it would total almost eight pounds.
While everybody knows about the five senses and how important they are, what most people don't know is that the human body actually has many other specific senses vital to how we regulate our bodies and keep up to date with our surroundings.
Proprioception: This sense gives you the ability to tell where your body parts are, relative to other body parts. This sense is one of the things police officers test when they pull over someone who they think is driving drunk. The close your eyes and touch your nose test is testing this sense. This sense is used all the time in little ways, such as when you scratch an itch on your foot, but never once look at your foot to see where your hand is relative to your foot. If someone has a body part amputated this sense can manifest in a sensation of phantom pain emanating from the missing appendage.
Tension Sensors: These are found in such places as your muscles and give the brain the ability to monitor muscle tension.
Nociception: Pain was once thought to simply be the result of overloading other senses, such as touch, but it has since been classified as its own separate sense. There are three distinct types of pain receptors: cutaneous (skin), somatic (bones and joints), and visceral (body organs).Equilibrioception: This sense also allows for perceiving gravity and is vital to how you monitor your own balance and momentum. It can be located in your inner ears and is called the vestibular labyrinthine system. When its not working or malfunctioning, you literally cant tell up from down and moving from one location to another without aid is extremely difficult.
Stretch Receptors: These are found in such places as the lungs, bladder, stomach, and the gastrointestinal tract. A type of stretch receptor, that senses dilation of blood vessels, is also often involved in headaches.
Chemoreceptors: These trigger an area of the medulla in the brain that is involved in detecting blood born hormones and drugs. It also is involved in the vomiting reflex.
Thirst and Hunger: These are actually counted as separate sense, but both perform similar functions to remind your body of its energy and hydration level.
Magnetoception: This is the ability to detect magnetic fields, which is principally useful in providing a sense of direction when detecting the Earths magnetic field. This sense is especially strong in birds, who use it for navigation but it is also present more weakly in human beings.
Time: Whether or not this counts as an inherent sense is still being hotly debated by scientists. However, there is emerging evidence to suggest that our brains are structured to categorize events in both short and long term time. This includes our own circadian rhythm and ability to surprisingly accurately guess the passage of time.