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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2answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
13k 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
votes
3answers
266 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
55 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
2answers
201 views

Why do we have two of some organs, but not all?

We have two eyes, but we don't have two hearts. Why do humans have two of some organs, but not all?
5
votes
1answer
84 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
votes
2answers
527 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
261 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
1k 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
306 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
127 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
103 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
92 views

What is basis of multifunctionality of “master glands” in the endocrine system?

I have just started reading about the endocrine system and I am having some difficulty understanding the basis of distribution of glands and associated hormones. I am using multifuntionality to ...
4
votes
2answers
768 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
4answers
3k 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?
4
votes
1answer
125 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
49 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
6k 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
506 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
40 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
170 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
141 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
408 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
301 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
127 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
1k 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
276 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
584 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
votes
2answers
292 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
102 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
votes
0answers
270 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
570 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
989 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
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3answers
281 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
30 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
155 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
256 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
136 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
77 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
173 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
86 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
votes
1answer
989 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
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

SPINAL CORD: Do the axons from white matter synapse with the cell bodies in grey matter?

After wading through a sea of information, I understand the main differences between the white matter and grey matter of the spinal cord. I know that white matter contains myelinated axons in the ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Why is one testicle larger than the other?

Why is one testicle generally larger in humans? Just due to asymmetric development, or is there a hypothesis as to some utility it serves? I read that the different heights may be attributed to ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

What are typical values for bone mass in humans?

I wonder what are typical bone mass values for adult males and females? And do they change significantly with workout and diet?
3
votes
2answers
897 views

Why has our nose evolved with the nostrils facing down?

For most animals, the whole bottom of their face sticks out and they have a snout with a mouth and nose at the end. But humans have a flat face and just a nose that sticks out. We used to have the ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

How to maximize lung oxygen intake?

What method of breathing provides a sudden surge of oxygen into the lungs filling it as full as possible in volume and density. Deep breaths? Shallow breaths? Breaths taken while bent over? Deep ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Is there a way to measure ATP usage in the brain similarly to fMRI?

Is there a way to measure ATP usage in the brain (or anywhere else) similarly to how fMRI works (measuring changes in iron resonance in oxygenated/deoxygenated blood)? Is there some sort of similar ...