Here is a list of 10 Amazing Things Human Body does that Nobody Realizes.
01. Complexity of Eye Movements
Look at an object on the wall across the room. Now keep looking at it while you move your head back and forth, up and down. Your eyes stay pointed at that spot. Not hard to do, is it?
For that to happen, you brain needs to calculate the direction and rate of change your head is moving in 3 dimensional space and then send corresponding signals to the muscles in your eyes to exactly counter match the rotation and speed in order to keep them pointed at that spot and not only that, the muscles that have to be moved (and the rate at which they move) are different for each eye, since if you turn your head quickly right, you right eye contracts the muscles on the nose side to compensate, and the left eye contracts the muscles on the temple side.
It’s an absolutely amazing, fine-tuned process involving incredible spatial calculations and microsecond signaling and adjusting that we do all the time and take completely for granted.
Our eyes also function as fine-tuned motion detectors. Try scanning a room with a smooth eye movement and you will notice that you can’t. Instead, your eyes move in little “jumps” called saccades. Now, focus on a moving object and you will notice that you can now move your eyes smoothly as you track the object’s movement. This eye behavior, known as smooth pursuit, evolved because it allowed us to a better spot and keep sight of prey (or potential predators). The little eye jumps are ideal for skipping over useless sights and scanning the entirety of a space more quickly. Then smooth pursuit allows us to lock on to a target and keep it in our sights.
Also, when darting your eyes from object to object the brain makes a conscious effort to erase the visual memory of the motion blur before your eyes rest on the object. The brain then fills in the lost memory with the image when your eyes stop moving. You lose 20-30 minutes of visual memory a day as the brain does this.
02. Body Destroying Cancer Cells
Each day, your immune system spots and destroys cells that could easily go on to become cancerous. The irony is that both mutant and hunter come from the same source – the immune system. In this way, it could be argued that everyone gets cancer and beats it.
Also when you get a sunburn, it’s not your skin cells being damaged by the sun and dying, it’s your skin cells’ DNA being damaged by the sun and them killing themselves so that they don’t turn into cancer.
03. Our Running Abilities
Humans can outrun most animals in long distances due to our ability to cool and our efficient 2-legged running. It is amazing because this used to be a way to hunt (and it still practiced in VERY small parts of the world).
It’s called persistence hunting. Basically, humans can regulate heat while running/jogging/walking, while the animals being chased (antelope for example) cannot regulate their heat efficiently.
The hunter keeps the animal in sight, running to where they can catch up to it, not allowing it the chance to rest in the shade and cool down. Eventually, the animal either dies of heat exhaustion, or is just too exhausted to continue running away, and the hunter can easily kill it with a spear at close range. It is insane to think that your body is able to run an animal to death.
In long-distance running contests(e.g., a marathon), humans are literally the best animal in existence depending on temperature. Horses beat us at cooler temperatures(which is why the man vs horse race they have in Wales is usually won by the horse), and husky dogs when it’s extremely cold, but on a hot day they’ll both die of heat exhaustion long before we will.
This is one of the major reasons we domesticated dogs. Wolves in Europe can also run very long distances especially compared to the animals native to Europe. They’re also unbelievably good trackers. However, they’re horrendous at actually killing an animal. It takes like 5 of them chewing on an animal for half an hour just to kill it. Humans are also phenomenal endurance athletes, but our sense of smell makes it much more difficult to track animals. Thanks to our throwing ability and intelligence to build tools, we’re also very efficient and quick killers. European hunter gatherers realized this and used the friendlier wolves to help track prey. Some of those same Europeans actually took these wolves, or really proto-dogs at this point, and traveled all the way across Asia, north into Russia, across the frozen Bering Strait through mammoths and saber tooth tigers into the Americas over the course of several thousand years. Those people became what we now know as Native Americans and that’s why the domesticated dogs that Native Americans kept as companions and hunting partners could trace their ancestry to Europe.
04. Dexterity of Hands and Fingers
The human hand is one of the most insanely fine-tuned pieces of organic machinery on the planet. It contains an absurdly dense amount of nerve cells and special nerve adjustments that make it incredibly sensitive to extremely small signals. Because of this, and the insane art that is the natural craftsmanship of our hands, the human hand has a dexterity for precision that other apes do not have, let alone the rest of the barbaric in comparison animals.
Human fingers can feel objects as small as 13 nanometers. This means that, if your finger was the size of the Earth, you could feel the difference between houses from cars.
What makes our fingers even more amazing is that human fingers contain no muscles. They are solely controlled by muscles in the arm and palm pulling on tendons.
05. Complexity of Breastmilk Production
Breastmilk actually changes its composition to meet the individual nutritional needs of the baby(ies) feeding from the breast. For example, if mom is nursing a toddler (who is more prone to short little “drive by” nursings), the child gets more bang for their buck and gets a full session’s worth of proteins, fats and vitamins in their one minute fly by, the same as a 3-month-old gets in their 25-minute session. As they get older, the quantity of vitamins, fats, and proteins changes as well to meet their individual needs.
This is even true if mom is tandem nursing two babies of different ages: the milk actually customizes itself to ensure that they both get exactly what they need, and the amount of milk she makes is dependent entirely on how much stimulation she gets (i.e. the more the baby nurses at the breast, the better supplied they are. This is why using bottles and pacifiers mucks up someone’s supply because the baby wastes all their suckling needs somewhere else).
Even cooler, the milk makes antibodies for the viruses mom and baby are exposed to and fighting off. The coolest part, in particular, is that before the mom even knows she or her baby are sick, her milk is already creating medicine (antibodies) to treat her child. It’s like a built-in vaccine that is constantly being updated to fight off the latest bugs. This is the main reason why breastfed babies are better equipped to fight off both short-term illness and long term disease (like respiratory illness, asthma, allergies, etc).
Breast milk is also amazing because, within the first 1-3 days of a newborn feeding, the milk is actually close to clear in its color due to the fact that it is mostly antibodies preparing the baby’s immune system. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, the mother’s body will “fill” the baby with essential nutrients and minerals, allowing the first few feeds to have a little less nutrient and a little more antibodies. This is called Colostrum a.k.a. liquid gold. Colostrum is known to heal skin burns and tears faster. Apparently, if you put breast milk in your eye during an infection, it will heal quicker. Same is true with ears.
06. Energy Production via Mitochondria
Mitochondria have different DNA from the human body, which likely stems from the fact that they were once bacteria internalized by another single cell organism (probably archaea) very early on in the evolutionary process creating the single most important symbiotic relationship. Mitochondria are responsible for all of the energy production in your body.
Mitochondrial DNA is also inherited from only the mother. It has very low evolutionary pressure and can be used to track ancestry very far back.
Here is another interesting trivia about Mitochondria. If you had been lucky to be dieting in the 1930s, you may have tried a drug named Dinitrophenol. It’s probably one of the most effective weight loss drugs ever. The problem is it wrecks your mitochondria, therefore wrecking you. Mitochondria are like mini-dams. They use gradients to produce energy in the form of ATP that your body uses to do everything. Dinitrophenol effectively puts holes in the metaphorical dam. The mitochondria are chugging away, but ATP isn’t being made. All of that energy is released as heat. This can cause dangerous increases in body temperature. By inefficiently producing energy, the body effectively “burns” through all of its fat, then muscle, then everything else. It’s as if no matter how much you ate you’d still be starving because the food just turns into heat. People died because they were taking a weight loss pill that worked. It just worked too well.
07. Fetus’ Superhuman Abilities
When a pregnant woman suffers organ damage (such as a heart attack), the fetus sends stem cells to the damaged organ to help repair it. Doctors have observed that women who experience weakness of the heart during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth have better recovery rates than any other group of heart failure patients. A study suggests that fetal stem cells may help human mothers, as well as mice, recover from heart damage. It may also explain another curious clinical observation: The hearts of two women who suffered from severe heart weakness were later found to contain cells derived from the cells of a male fetus years after they gave birth to their sons.
The same thing seems to hold true for other organs. When pregnant women have damage in other organs, including the brain, lung, and liver, earlier studies have shown, fetal cells show up there, too.
08. Why we Experience Fear
The point of fear is to maximize your chances of survival; your senses are sharpened, immune and digestive systems shut down to save energy, and chemicals are released to give you adrenaline. You pretty much become superhuman to get ready to fight or run away.
It should be added that when you are scared of something that is non-threatening and you have this uneasy feeling, (“creepiness” is a word that is commonly used) this is your brain’s response to the unknown. For example, clowns are a common fear because of the face paint that conceals their face. This prevents us from reading the true emotions of the person behind the mask and we are unable to tell whether they are a threat or not. Our brain decides to fear the clown to prepare for the worst of situations and take no risks.
Even the fear response, in general, is a pretty great one! If you look at a frightened face, you’ll notice the eyes opened wide and eyebrows up, face pulled taught. This is, according to some theories, a way to increase peripheral view and to also allow less obstruction to our sense of smell, as our noses flare out during a fearful reaction, too.
Fear conditioning is another reason we fear non-threatening things. If something negative happens to you in a certain situation or with a certain object, you associate this object with negativity, and you fear this object in anticipation of something bad happening again. The “Little Albert” experiment is famously known for fear conditioning in an infant boy. Pretty much they took a baby and every time they gave him a white, fluffy object they hit a metal pole behind him to make a loud noise. Albert would cry and eventually associated white fluffy objects with the loud noise and began to fear them.
09. Body’s Resilience
The resilience of the human body is pretty damn incredible. Your body will fight with every ounce of its being to keep you alive, literally. Your body will digest itself to salvage nutrients for vital organs. Your cells will kill themselves if they can tell there’s something wrong with them for the good of the rest of the body, and you have so many reflexes that you wouldn’t even begin to understand them until they actually kicked in when you go into survival mode. The instinctive drowning response, for example. Every part of your body is focused on keeping your mouth above water for air. My personal favorite response is fight or flight. Normally your muscles are limited in how much power they can exert so that they don’t get hurt excessively during routine tasks like exercising. When your adrenaline surges, that limit is gone. Your muscles will work as hard as they possibly can without restraint, and you don’t feel the pain of overexertion either. This is where we get those stories of people lifting cars off their children – hysterical strength.
10. Complex Mechanism of Releasing a Fart
People have no idea how lucky we are to have bodies so finely tuned that they can fart with a reliable degree of certainty that we won’t sh*t. There are way more things happening down there than you think. Basically, at the anus, there are 2 rings of muscle (“sphincters”), internal and external. In the resting state, the INTERNAL sphincter is contracted and the EXTERNAL sphincter is relatively relaxed.
Inside/above the internal sphincter (in the rectum) you are lined with mucosa, which is similar to the lining of your mouth. Down there it isn’t very sensitive, though. But in between the two sphincters, the lining is basically skin (just like what you have outside the external sphincter) which has excellent sensation.
When a material gets into the rectum and stretches it, the internal sphincter relaxes, and the external sphincter contracts, exposing the skin between them to the material, which determines if it is solid, liquid, or gas (fart). Then the internal an*l sphincter contracts again and the material is pushed back up into the rectum. As non-infant humans, we generally try to wait until a societally-appropriate time to sit or squat, relax both sphincters, and pass the material if liquid or solid (or in the case of preadolescent and older boys, lean over and pass the gas in someone else’s direction).