15 Bizarro Facts About the Human Body
Every now and then, it’s worth stopping to marvel at what a weird, gross thing the human body is. Truly, a disgusting meat sack full of bones and electricity that can turn on you at any moment. To fully absorb just what a bag of nightmares you are, though, you would never get anything else done, so let’s just focus on the wildest ways your body mocks you on a daily basis.
You’re Taller in the Morning
When you sleep, there’s no pressure on your spine, so its discs fill up with fluid that gets slowly squeezed out throughout the day, extending your spine by half to three-quarters of an inch. Feel free to list your better height on Tinder.
Kids Grow Faster in Spring
Just like the little weeds they are, kids grow faster in the spring and summer, by an average of about two inches more than they do in winter. It’s not clear why -- it could relate to the length of the days, sun exposure, rates of infectious disease, or because you’re back-to-school shopping at the end of summer anyway and the universe wants to take it easy on you.
Cavities Are Contagious
The bacteria that causes tooth decay can be passed from person to person, meaning you can ruin a perfect dental record by deciding to smooch some poors. In fact, a huge factor in your lifelong oral health is your mother’s, thanks to all that food-blowing and face-kissing she did to you as a child.
Newborn Babies Don’t Actually Cry
You wouldn’t know it from the soundtrack of your average maternity ward, but babies’ tear ducts aren’t developed enough to produce tears until they’ve been out of the oven for at least a few weeks. Before that, they’re just being assholes.
You Glow in the Dark
You know those bioluminescent sea creatures that make some beaches glow? You’re technically one of them. All organic beings emit a small amount of light due to metabolic processes. The human glow is too weak to be seen by our own eyes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there, so glow on, you beautiful tropical fish.
Your Stomach Blushes
The surge of adrenaline brought on by pronouncing a word wrong or noticing a cute butt causes the capillaries all over your body to widen, but it’s especially noticeable in your cheeks because they’re closer to the surface there. Another place they’re very close? Your stomach, which also turns red. The butterflies are having a very sexy party in there.
Your Brain Edits Your Senses
At any given moment, your brain is being bombarded with sensory information, so it’s always frantically throwing out what it doesn’t need like some kind of Marie Kondo–obsessed robot. Usually, it’s because a sensation hasn’t changed for some time, because the important stuff -- like a jaguar leaping at your face -- will be moving. In a mechanism called sensory adaptation, it just removes that boring stuff from your perception, which is why, for example, you’ll eventually stop hearing a ceiling fan and usually don’t see your own nose.
Motion Sickness is Your Brain Thinking It’s Been Poisoned
Our stupid bodies don’t know about cars and boats and Screamin’ Demon Death Coasters, so when our eyes and ears sense movement but our bodies remain still, its only explanation is that we’ve been poisoned. In an effort to expel the phantom toxin, it makes us Sandlot all over the place.
Humans Have Stripes
They’re called Blaschko’s lines. They’re invisible unless some kind of disease gives you a way bigger problem, but they form a definite pattern of V’s on your back, S’s on your front and sides, and waves over your head. You’re like a sexy little secret zebra.
Your Lungs Are Hairy
As if that wasn’t gross enough, the hair moves, sweeping out debris in a manner that is ultimately helpful, if no less unsettling. That’s why smokers cough: The hairs, called cilia, are temporarily paralyzed by the chemicals in cigarette smoke.
Related: How To Shave Your Back Safely
You Breathe Through One Nostril at a Time
At any given time, you’re breathing in most of your air through one nostril while the other one takes a coffee break, switching off every two hours or so. It’s probably so neither one ever gets too dried out, but people tend to favor the opposite nostril of whatever hand they use, so your left nostril is probably getting pretty resentful.
You Can Be Right- or Left-Eyed and -Eared
Just as you have a dominant hand, you probably also have a dominant ear and eye. Your dominant ear is probably the one you use to talk on the phone, and you can determine your dominant eye by making a triangle with your hands, centering it over a distant object, and closing your left eye (if the object has suddenly shifted to the right, you’re right-eyed).
Tongue Prints Are Unique
Yep: Everybody’s slobberer is different, from the color to the shape to the gross little ridges. In fact, it’s potentially an even better identifier than many of the other things we use to differentiate between people and could be useful in forensics, so don’t go licking any crime scenes.
One of the human body’s biggest pranks against its prisoners is the teratoma, a tumor that can grow hair, teeth, and even eyes. They can pop up for a number of reasons, they can kill you (with cancer, not, like, a knife, although we wouldn’t put it past them) or not, but more than anything, they are proof that God has forgotten us.
You’re (Sometimes) More Bacteria Than Person
By number of cells, your body contains about as much bacteria as it does human cells, close enough that a single dump can tip the scales back toward person. On a particularly constipated day, though, you’re not so much your own planet as a tract of land hosting a thriving population. In that respect, are you really “you”? Sleep tight!
Top image: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash