In many ways, we are all just walking, breathing, living machines. Of course, it goes without saying that we are a lot more complex than machines, and that our lives have more value than our washing machine or microwave oven. But when you delve into it a bit, you begin to realize just how many things are going on in, on and about our bodies. We’re alive with activity, including, to the disappointment of some, trillions of bacteria which we literally could not live without. Here is just a tiny sampling of the amazing facts we know about the human body.
1. Sweet Dreams
It will take less time for you to die from lack of sleep than it would for you to die of starvation, which can take as long as a month.
2. Ever Been Tongue Printed?
Fingerprints have long been used as an absolute and unquestioned method of identification. But did you realize that your tongue also has its own pattern, or “print” that is unique to you?
3. Slimy Swim
The average person produces on the order of 6,200 gallons of saliva during the course of their life. That’s enough to fill two swimming pools. Not a pleasant thought, we know, but pretty impressive nonetheless.
4. The Nose Knows
It’s long been believed that the human nose can distinguish between about 50,000 different scents, but recent research has blown that number out of the water. It is now believed that we may be able to distinguish between a mind-blowing one trillion scents. Yeah, that’s a lot of zeroes: 1,000,000,000,000
5. Water Works
The reason that your nose gets runny when you cry is because tears from the eyes also drain into the nasal cavity.
6. Blondes Have More… Hair
The human head has about 100,000 hair follicles on average, but blondes have nearly 50 percent more, putting their average at about 146,000. Brunettes usually have around 100,000 while those with black hair have somewhere around 110,000. Redheads trail the pack with an average total of about 86,000.
7. I’m Not in the Mood
The first known use of human contraception involved crocodile excrement and was employed by the ancient Egyptians. For some reason, we believe that the growth of the human population really didn’t slow very much at that time.
8. Dumbing Down
Once we reach the ripe old age of 35, we begin losing around 7,000 brain cells per day. Those cells, by the way, will never be replaced. Is it any wonder we tend to get a bit forgetful as we age?
9. Going Down
Speaking of things we start to lose when we are in our 30’s, it’s also interesting to note that at age 30, we gradually begin to shrink in stature.
10. Going The Distance
The human body normally has more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels. That’s enough to wrap around the earth nearly two-and-a-half times or stretch nearly a quarter of the distance to the moon!
11. Talk About Close Friends
Each square inch of human skin is inhabited by approximately 30 million bacteria. Fortunately, the vast majority of them are perfectly harmless and are just hitching a ride.
12. Not So Small After All
It’s called the small intestine, but is that really an accurate description? Perhaps it’s not as wide as the large intestine, but when it comes to length, we shouldn’t sell the small intestine short! It averages about four times the height of a person, normally measuring somewhere between 18 and 23 feet.
13. Whole Lotta Sole
The soles of your feet have more more pressure-sensitive nerve endings and sweat glands per square inch than any other part of the body. Your feet may contain as many as 500,000 sweat glands! Perhaps Dr. Scholl is onto something after all!
14. Digestive Makeover
The lining of the stomach is replaced every three or four days. If that didn’t happen, the powerful acids that help us digest food would soon cause the lining to break down and cause the stomach itself to be digested.
15. Boiling Mad
The human body gives off more energy in the form of heat than you might imagine. In fact, just 30 minutes worth of heat from the average person can bring a a half-gallon of water to boil. Maybe those evil robots in The Matrix came up with a terribly creepy system that could actually work!