This tag is for questions about the general anatomical features of human beings as opposed to the anatomy of non-human animals.

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1answer
2k views

What is the average Leg-to-Foot Length/Width Ratio?

I'm making a program that estimates a probable size (widest width and longest length) for a human's foot given the length and width of the leg to which it is attached. However, try as I might, I can't ...
6
votes
1answer
87 views

Healing rate of cut while suffering from a cold

I recently cut my finger fairly deeply with a box cutter and had to have it stitched. During the healing process I contracted a strong cold/mild flu (a sore throat and runny nose with a high fever, ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How would constantly growing nails have aided early human?

Nails grow rapidly and constantly, such that without constant artificial trimming they would reach lengths difficult to manage. How did this benefit early humans, say 200kya? Were they used like ...
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4answers
4k views

Bad Eyesight and Evolution

Why do many humans have bad eyesight, such as near-sightedness, which hampers performance in a wide variety of tasks? Shouldn't there be evolutionary pressure towards better eyesight?
5
votes
1answer
168 views

Do humans have skin cells that trigger oxytocin release in the brain?

I was reading an article by Montgomery on the therapeutic effect of pets (Boston Globe, January 12, 2015), and I found this quote: All animals appear to have cells directly under the skin that ...
5
votes
1answer
14k views

What is the standard deviation of adult human heights within sexes?

The wikipedia article on human height reports mean height for many different countries by sex but it does not report standard deviations. What is the standard deviation of adult human heights within ...
5
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3answers
273 views

Symmetry of species [duplicate]

I've got a silly question, sorry for that. I know, that we probably have no the right answer and the current answer could be "that's evolution, external conditions". I'd like to speculate, why most of ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Stretching and compressing bones

The Young's modulus of elasticity when a bone is stretched is : 16×109 and when it is compressed, it is 9×109 N/m2. That means, change in length will be more if you compress a bone as compared to ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

What is the basis for the determining sex from position of adult pelvis?

I've read that a person with enough knowledge of anatomy can tell the difference between a "woman" who is a slim man that is very good with makeup and an actual woman. They usually claim to be able ...
5
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2answers
632 views

Where do the 31 spinal nerves start/meet?

Which part of the brain is the first place (from top to bottom) where all 31 pairs of spinal nerves (on each side) meet? Or if they all start at one place - where is that? Nominally, the beginning of ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

Can someone who cannot talk still whistle?

Can someone who has a damaged larynx, which does not allow them to talk, still create a tune when they whistle? I know that the larynx is what allows a person to manipulate their pitch and volume, ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

Do human anal glands have any function?

Anal glands in all kinds of animals play a range of diverse functions - providing fat for preening feathers or waterproofing fur, generating distinct scent, even repelling predators. None of the ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does the sacrum fuse together?

Everywhere I look describes how the 5 sacral vertebrae start fusing together during adolescence and are totally fused by the time you're 30 or so. But nobody seems to explain why this happens. It ...
5
votes
1answer
380 views

Why do men grow facial hair?

Ancestral facial hair. Our closest ancestors, the chimpanzee and bonobo, both grow facial hair around the mouth area. What is noteworthy is that this is the case in both males and females of the ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

Why do we yawn?

I've read a new study which suggests that yawning may help you keep a cool head. Also, the findings might hold some hope for sufferers of insomnia, migraines, and even epilepsy. Is there any ...
5
votes
1answer
125 views

Does the anatomy of our hand result in (computer) mouse-accuracy that varies by direction of movement?

First off, I apologize if this isn't the right stackexchange sub-site for asking thsi question. I was torn as to where I should post this question: it could plausibly belong in Biology, User ...
4
votes
2answers
811 views

What happens if a person has the right side of the body totally removed (including the brain)? [closed]

I guess humans could live without just the right lobe of the liver or the right brain. Could a person without the whole right side of body survive? The left brain controls the right side of the ...
4
votes
2answers
673 views

Why do we have to exhale (or inhale) in order to speak?

Every time we speak, sing, or make any other kind of advanced noise with our throats, we exhale, or to put it that way, blow air through our throats. Why is this required? After all, speakers do not ...
4
votes
2answers
125 views

Headshot = instant kill? [closed]

While whatching a film, I've been thinking about how does a headshot kill someone, and how long does it take? For example let's say you've beeing shot by a normal (police) handfired weapon - no ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

How small does a nanobot have to be to “swim through the brain” and access any neuron it wants to?

I read on this question What is in the space between neurons in a brain? that there is actually not much empty space in a brain. But my question is slightly different. Is there a visual demonstration ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Cross section through the right arm question

Is the largest drawn vein on first attached pictue v. brachialis or did they make a mistake and it's actually v. basilica? Picture 1: Cross section through the right arm (source: Thieme, General ...
4
votes
1answer
54 views

Are there testosterone receptors in female mammary tissue?

Does female mammary tissue have receptors for testosterone hormones? Do male hormones influence female mammary glands, as female hormones influenced the male mammary tissue, such as in gynecomastia? ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

Difference between intervertebral and vertebral foramina

In the human spine, what is the difference between intervertebral and vertebral foramina? Is it just a matter of perspective and do they refer to the same thing or are they different?
4
votes
1answer
570 views

Would a spinal injury decrease human height?

A woman I know has been losing height at a rate of few cm a year following a severe spinal injury. How is this possible? What kind of injury could cause such progressive loss of height? Could this be ...
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Unable to identify a muscle of the anterior thorax

I was watching an YouTube Anatomy Video which goes over the major muscles of the anterior superficial thorax. There is a structure present throughout the video which goes unmentioned, and I can't seem ...
4
votes
1answer
208 views

How pain can stimulate the vagus nerve

I'm trying to find out why a prompt, severe, short pain is causing a stimulation of the vagus nerve. What could the physiological explanation be? Is that because the pain is triggering the ...
4
votes
1answer
176 views

Miscarriage in early humans

Today, about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancy end in miscarriage. Pregnancy is a biological process that has been very well studied by medicine. As a result, modern medicine helps a lot to prevent ...
4
votes
2answers
428 views

Extraretinal photoreception in mammals? [duplicate]

A Finnish firm Valkee sells light-ear-plugs against thing such as jetlag. I asked a researcher in Aalto university how do they really work and he responded ...
4
votes
1answer
319 views

what are the mechanics of sweating?

The causes of sweating aside, i.e. I'm not interested in which and how nerve signals are transmitted to sweat glands. But I would like to read a detailed account on what a sweat gland consists of, ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

What neuro-motor diseases cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to malfunction?

Please note: This question is neither homework nor seeking medical advice. I'm simply asking for a factual, objective, biological explanation of the various neuro-motor diseases/illnesses that can act ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Does the human hand have 27 degrees of freedom?

I have counted the degrees of freedom in my hand over and over and I keep getting the number 19. Suppose each finger has 3 degrees of freedom. Then 5 * 3 = 15. The wrist can rotate around or back and ...
4
votes
1answer
333 views

How does aging affect fingerprint?

Do fingerprints change as we grow from child to adult? Most notably, what is the effect of the increase in surface area of palms and fingers on the finger print? Does the finger print simply increases ...
4
votes
1answer
950 views

How are arms different than legs?

Ok, this is a bit of a tangent question, but it came up yesterday and I didn't know the answer: How are arms and legs defined physiologically? For example, we say humans have two arms and two legs, ...
4
votes
1answer
604 views

Why do I breathe out of BOTH nostrils?

After reading the question why do I only breathe out of one nostril I realized that breathing out of both isn't common. I have always breathed out of both, and when I get a stuffy nose, or a runny ...
4
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2answers
328 views

What is the evolutionary purpose of the topology of the human ear?

What is the evolutionary purpose of the topology of human ears? I understand why the ears may have a funnel-like shape but if the various "hills and valleys" do not amplify incoming sound, what ...
4
votes
0answers
25 views

Is the knee locking mechanism present in animals?

We study in human anatomy that when the knee is in full extension, the femur slightly medially rotates on the tibia to lock the knee joint in place. This reduces the work required to be done by the ...
4
votes
0answers
27 views

Does variation in human gut length vary predictably with diet of ancestors?

Background: Numerous online searches, textbooks and other sources seem to pin the average length of the human gut from mouth to anus (oroanal) between about 5-10m in length. To pick a reputable ...
4
votes
0answers
123 views

Why are lips covered with specialized skin?

I found out some interesting facts while studying our lips: They are covered in glabrous skin, while most of the skin surface is hairy; The outermost layer (stratum corneum) of the skin is far ...
4
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0answers
314 views

How do duplicate brain regions (ex: left/right amygdaloid body) operate together?

I frequently hear talk about parts of the brain like "Amygdala" or "Hypothalamus", so I looked them up in an app called "essential anatomy". What I see is that there's mirror symmetry, and most of ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do humans have only two nipples?

If other animals have more than 2 nipples, then why do humans have only 2 nipples? Even my pet dog has more than 2 nipples.
3
votes
3answers
292 views

Mechanical cause of loss of consciousness

Consciousness is an electrical and chemical interaction in the brain, caused by neurons firing and chemical interactions. How does a mechanical "force" cause this to stop working? i.e. How does a ...
3
votes
1answer
32 views

Does the palate truly house the sense of taste?

Source: Your “palate” is the roof of your mouth, and by extension, your sense of taste. I was reading Etymonline's entry for palatable {adj.}, which cites and derives from palate {noun}: ... ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

What is the evolutionary cause for various finger lengths?

Why are the lengths the way they are with middle finger the longest?
3
votes
1answer
27 views

Is curling the fingers considered digit flexion?

Is curling the fingers considered finger flexion and straightening the fingers considered finger extension? I feel like this is correct in everyday language, but I am not sure if it is correct in ...
3
votes
1answer
388 views

Do our belly buttons consist of scar tissue?

I read an interesting post on Facebook the other day saying that we all have a visible scar since birth - our belly button. This got me thinking (and research for me only found results regarding belly ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Why is it difficult to bend the waist while keeping the knees straight?

It's easy to keep your legs straight when you're standing up or laying flat on your back, but as soon as you try to sit up or bend down, you need to bend your knees as well as your waist. (Try it. ...
3
votes
2answers
210 views

Is it possible to move your arms above your head when handcuffed in the back?

This move was seen in Pitch Black and i wonder if it is possible at all. Say you are handcuffed to a pole, hands in the back, and the pôle is a little higher than your head. You just want to do a ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Do human visual functions degenerate due to genetic factors or by external factors?

Does eyesight primarily deteriorate 'naturally' due to genetics (genomic/epigenomic factors), or due to external factors such as normal wear and tear, or disease? By normal wear and tear I include ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Do adipose cells divide in adults?

I have a dim recollection of having heard that when humans gain weight, adipose cells just get larger, rather than dividing. True?
3
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1answer
2k views

Circulation through the liver in light of drug metabolism

I have a lingering question which stems from an answer that I gave to What hydrolyses aspirin within the digestive tract and blood stream? When a drug or any other substance is absorbed into the ...