The study of the normal function of living organisms and the means by which it is achieved.

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173 views

What use a pair of lips?

Pardon my ignorance ... A lip is apparently a very sensitive tactile device - as it at-least serves to warn it's owner they may just be about to consume something that could cause injury. Primates ...
17
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3answers
839 views

Why are there no organisms with metal body parts, like weapons, bones, and armour? (Or are there?)

Reading this question, Why are there no wheeled animals?, I wondered why no organisms seem to make use of the tensile and other strengths of metal, as we do in metal tools and constructions. I am ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Do animals exist with an uneven total number of digits?

I recently finished reading Contact by Carl Sagan. In the book they talk about a pattern in the transcendental number like pi or e, and comment that it is found in base 10 or however many fingers the ...
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2answers
170 views

What gases are needed for humans to breathe?

I will be beginning a science project about sustaining life on space stations. I already know that pure oxygen is harmful for humans but would $O_2$ + $CO_2$ be enough for humans to breathe in or do ...
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1answer
840 views

fibroblast cells and fibers

I am interested in fibroblast cells in human arteries. Here are the things that I am not clear at the moment and I could not find any answer from the literature: What are the dimensions of these ...
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1answer
50 views

Deep diving in mammals

Mammals like seals often dive and can remain under water for more than 70 minutes. How do seals know when is it the time to come up?
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1answer
66 views

Excretion of monovalent and divalent ions in sharks

I have heard that sharks excrete $\ce{Na+}$ and $\ce{Cl-}$ by their gill surfaces but divalent ions like magnesium are excreted through feces. What could be the reason behind this?
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1answer
50 views

What is a good review article source for Physiology?

I am looking review articles for Physiology. For instance, Physiological explanation of steps of measurement of the metabolism by Douglas-Haldane. There is no section for Physiology or metabolism in ...
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0answers
69 views

Would my hands sweat this much if I wasn't wearing gloves?

I've wondered about this for a long time, and hopefully someone here has a reasonable answer. I'm a cell and molecular biologist, and much of my time at the bench is spent wearing (usually nitrile) ...
2
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1answer
246 views

Ammonia smell after physical exercise? What is the explanation? [duplicate]

After exercising vigorously one can sometimes smell ammonia and it feels like it's coming from within the nose actually. There is no indication that others can smell it when I do (i.e. seems to be ...
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1answer
213 views

Skeletal muscles in clam

Although skeletal muscle fatigues fairly rapidly, clams have a protein called paramyosin that allows them to sustain contractions for up to a month. What might be the role of paramyosin at the ...
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2answers
646 views

Ill effects of urea and NH3 on metabolism

What exactly does urea do that harms our body? Does it interfere with our cellular processes or disturbs the colloidal onchotic pressure of our blood? I have heard that $NH_3$ damages the brain. What ...
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1answer
455 views

Cat purring: What are some possible underlying mechanisms behind purring and bone remodeling and formation?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-cats-purr The article above says that cats purr mostly when they're wounded or under duress. They hypothesis that cats purring leads to ...
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1answer
44 views

Immunity during pregnancy

I have learnt that our immune system distinguishes self from non-self by using MHC. So a mother during pregnancy should also develop antibodies against the fetus as it is also a genetically different ...
0
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1answer
98 views

Are humans more aggressive during a full moon? [closed]

Is it true that we are more agressive during the night when there is a full moon? If true, could this be a remnant from times where we needed to hunt for our food and so could see more at night when ...
5
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1answer
400 views

Why does it hurt more when you touch a nerve directly?

I am not a biologist nor know much about biology (so please explain in layman's terms) however I have always been curious as to why this is. What causes the difference in pain between touching an ...
9
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3answers
585 views

How are our senses dimmed during sleep?

Our senses are not as sensitive during sleep compared to wake. There is an arousal threshold during sleep that only when it is overcome will it wake a person up. My question is how is this arousal ...
2
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1answer
394 views

Why is the blood pressure in the superior vena cava during inhalation less than during the exhalation?

For further investigation into the progress of the blood pressure, we will measure a patient's blood pressure in the superior vena cava measured during inhalation and during an exhalation. His heart ...
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1answer
104 views

What are some examples of scaling laws in biology?

I've seen that metabolic rate scales logarithmically as function of mass for many animals over an extremely large span of parameters. What other scaling laws exist at the individual level?
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1answer
604 views

Does the human ear adapt to noise levels?

I have noticed lately that if I go to sleep, when I have my radio running, it is on lowest volume, I still consider it kind of loud. In the morning, when being on the edge of waking up, I hear the ...
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3answers
958 views

What organs are absolutely needed by the human body?

The title is my question: what organs are absolutely needed (fatal if injured/removed) by the human body and perhaps animals in general? I'm not asking which organs are mechanically replaceable, but ...
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1answer
303 views

What are the long-term negative effects of going without water/food for a period of time [closed]

There are no good answers anywhere. so asking: this is not about days of survival without water. This is about long-term negative effects induced from not drinking water for at least the mentioned ...
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0answers
79 views

Why do ion concentrations change with different secretion rates in pancreatic juice?

Why is it that when secretory rate increases in the pancreas the concentration of chloride ions decreases, and the concentration of bicarbonate increases in the production of isotonic NaCl secretion? ...
2
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0answers
78 views

Size of classical liver lobule across species

A classical liver lobule is made up of a central vein and the portal triads. A typical human liver weighs around 3 lbs. , while a typical bovine liver weighs around 12 lbs. I was wondering if anyone ...
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1answer
370 views

How is Hypertonic Urine Produced in a Mammalian Kidney?

I know that the ascending loop of Henle is impermeable to water and ions, and, by end of the ascending limb, the osmolarity of the tubular fluid is very low due to the active transport of ions out ...
6
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2answers
140 views

Would muscle fatigue still occur if aerobic conditions for a working muscle is maintained?

Put another way if the muscle is given everything it needs to contract and do work will it ever get tired or have a reduction in energy efficiency? As far as I understand muscles depend upon a ...
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1answer
151 views

What is the energy balance of cooking?

If I cook some food, I get apparently several energetic advantages: thermal : the temperature of the food is closer or superior to the temperature of my body or internal organs, so I do not have to ...
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4answers
5k views

What is the cause of muscle cramps?

According to wikipedia, muscle cramps are caused by myosin fibers not being able to break free from the actin filaments during contraction, resulting in a prolonged contraction. Obviously a lack of ...
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1answer
61 views

Is stereo olfactory ability restricted to humans?

Most animals I see around seem to have two nostrils - humans, snakes, birds, fish .. and so on. From reading online I see that 2 nostrils provide a stereo olfactory effect. This stereo effect is ...
4
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1answer
126 views

What limits the size of fish compared to marine mammals?

The largest extant fish species is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). With a length of 13 meters and a mass of about 20-30 metric tons, the whale shark is relatively small compared to the largest ...
3
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2answers
6k views

What could cause hairs to gray at the tips but not the roots?

I have noticed that some of my sporadic gray hairs are gray at the tip side but oddly, not near the roots. Some are even only gray in the middle. I find all of this very counter intuitive, and I ...
5
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2answers
407 views

What metabolic activities are performed by a developing human fetus's liver?

I understand that organ function varies with the stages of development. Does a fetal liver EVER perform lipogenesis, gluconeogenesis, make bile, etc? Or does it only begin performing these actions ...
2
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2answers
315 views

What exothermic reaction distinguishes warm blooded animals?

I would appreciate an answer specifically in the form of an exothermic chemical reaction. Namely, the one primarily responsible for generating heat in warm blooded animals that does not take place in ...
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2answers
98 views

Is there any evolutionary/physiological advantage to multi-lateral symmetry?

Just wondering ; I get the impression a large number of multicellular organisms are multi-lateral in their physical structure. Why would evolution/mutation have retained multi-lateral symmetry in an ...
7
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1answer
50k views

What causes random long white body hairs?

I'm sure many of you have experienced this - you scratch your back or brush your hand over your arm and find a ridiculously long thin white hair, sometimes as long as 3 or 4 inches. I know a few ...
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2answers
156 views

What chemicals can be detected from one's sweat?

This question came to mind after reading this article. The article speaks of inducing sweating to determine by a roundabout fashion the amount of salt therein. I'm no medic but I find myself wondering ...
2
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1answer
44 views

What is the mechanism behind ventilatory acclimatization?

In my respiratory physiology lectures, my professor explained that hypoxia-induced hyperventilation occurs in 2 stages when people try to acclimate at high altitudes. My question is about the ...
5
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1answer
121 views

functional hypocholesterolemia due to very high HDL or low LDL?

Nutritional and medical recommendations about cholesterol seem to focus exclusively on hypercholesterolemia, and as such, they provide only a maximum desirable level for LDL and a minimum for HDL. ...
4
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2answers
289 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 ...
6
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3answers
3k views

Why does having cold hands hurt?

(1). Why does having cold hands create a painful sensation? Is it a physical effect, maybe a protection mechanism from evolution? (2). Why, if one's hands are cold, does it feel as if they are more ...
3
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0answers
85 views

What are the physiological effects of wine?

I have read that alcohol in general and wine in particular can have advantageous as well as detrimental effects on human health. Is this true? What are the physiological effects of consuming wine in ...
5
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1answer
860 views

How much gas is exchanged in one human breath?

When we breathe, our lungs absorb a portion of the oxygen in the air, and replace it with some amount of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Typically, how much $O_2$ (in grams, milliliters, or moles for ...
3
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2answers
628 views

Physiological indicators of happiness and well being

If I understand it correctly, levels of serotonin in the brain can indicate if a person is happy. What other physiological measures indicate happiness or well being for a humans? I am looking for ...
4
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1answer
49 views

How is olfactory acuity rated/measured?

Acuity of one's sight is rated on the 20/20 scale. An online search appeared to indicate there is no comparable 'standard' to rate olfactory acuity. How is acuity of the olfactory system rated?
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1answer
139 views

How does ethanol interact with insulin?

I know that ethanol increases insulin secretion--could someone explain why? All I have found till now is experimental data analyses. I am interested in mechanism of alcohol consumption.
3
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1answer
206 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, ...
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3answers
162 views

How does one maintain balance sleepwalking?

Anectodal. Feel free to shoot it down. Walking is an acquired skill; As far as I'm concerned exhaustion causes disorientation. Even after waking up it sometimes takes a second or so to get balanced. ...
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3answers
217 views

What difference does it make in the organism's physiology/metabolism whether oxygen binds reversibly or not?

A follow-up to How does hemoglobin-free blood transport oxygen? I'm unsure about the use of physiology/metabolism in the title there. The question in mind is whether this reversible binding makes an ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Slow-oxidative fibres vs fast-glycotic fibres

Why do slow oxidative muscle fibres contain more mitochondria compared to fast-glycolytic muscle fibres?
4
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1answer
914 views

Conversion rate of topical Retinol to Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin)?

I'm wondering if someone out there has more information than me. Retinoids have well known metabolic pathways in vivo, and it's usually something like: ...