Why is the Human Body so Amazing?
The human body is amazing because it has incredible capabilities and it establishes a series of records in the world of biology. This article describes some of the most amazing features of the human body.
The human body contains approximately 7 x 1027 atoms, that is 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms (1)! This number is so huge it would take a lot more than a lifetime to count it! Out of these atoms about 87% are represented by hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
The acid inside the human stomach is strong enough to dissolve metals (like zinc, for example)! Fortunately, our body has a way to protect itself against this strong acid thanks to special properties of the cells from the stomach wall.
Human bones are stronger than concrete! The human bone can support a compressive strength of about 1800 kg/cm2 (2). In comparison most types of concrete have a compressive strength of only about 200-300 kg/cm2.
Inside the human body lives a huge number of bacteria. It is estimated that the total number of bacterial cells is 10 times larger that the number of cells inside the body. Most of the micro-organisms that live in our bodies are harmless. Some of them are quite beneficial because they help the human body perform its functions (digestion, for instance). Muscles inside the eye are the most active muscles from the human body. During one hour of reading eye muscles make about 15,000 movements (3). It is estimated that these muscles move an astonishing 100,000 times a day! These muscles function even when you are sleeping because the eyes keep moving when they are closed during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep (4).
The human brain is the most evolved brain in the animal world. The part of the brain called neocortex, involved in higher cognitive functions, makes up approximately 76% of the human brain, the largest in the animal kingdom. This part of the brain is responsible for language, spatial reasoning, consciousness and many other complex processes. Interestingly, the human brain is the fattest organ in the body. It contains about 60% fat (5).
Neurons, the cells that form the nervous system communicate with each other using electrical signals called action potentials which travel at a speed of about 400 km/hr (248.5 miles/hr). This enables the human body to respond very quickly to any threat or stimulus from the external environment. Also, this high speed allows our brain to think and process information extremely fast.
During its first month of life, a baby is learning a lot of new things about the world. The amount of learning is so big that the number of synapses inside the brain of the baby increases by about 5,000 times during this first month. Luckily this rapid growth is seen only inside the nervous system. If it would happen in other parts of the body, the baby would grow out of control becoming a giant in the first month of life.
When it comes to reproduction, apparently the human body is very well equipped. The testicles produce an average of 10 million sperm cells every day. This huge number ensures at least one sperm cell will reach the egg cell inside the female's body and thus reproduction will be successful.
Do you think you have problems distinguishing very similar colors? Well, think again! The human eye has the amazing ability to distinguish up to a 100,000 different colors (6)! There are other studies which suggest the human eye can see as many as 10 million colors (7). Off course there is a difference between the number of colors our eyes can physically see and the number of colors our brain can interpret and identify as a singular color. The latter is always smaller, especially in men!
1. Robert, A. (1998) Nanomedicine. www.foresight.org/Nanomedicine/Ch03_1.html
2. Kunt, S-N. (1984). Scaling: Why Is Animal Size So Important? Cambridge University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-521-31987-0.
3. Sheedy, J., Larson, K. Blink: the stress of reading. www.eyemagazine.com/opinion/article/eye-strain
4. National Institutes of Health (2013). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm
5. Chang C.Y., Ke D.S., Chen J.Y. (2009). Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 18 (4): 231 - 41. PMID: 20329590. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20329590
6. Calkins, D.J. (1993) Mapping color perception to a physiological substrate. The Visual Neurosciences Volumes 1 and 2. The MIT Press. (hypertextbook.com/facts/2006/JenniferLeong.shtml)
7. Wyszecki, G. (2006). Color. Chicago: World Book Inc, 824. hypertextbook.com/facts/2006/JenniferLeong.shtml
Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )