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Questions tagged [human-anatomy]

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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Why do I only breathe out of one nostril?

I was just sitting with my hand next to my nose and I realized that air was only coming out of the right nostril. Why is that? I would think I would use both, it seems much more efficient. Have I ...
46
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2answers
10k views

What is the function of epidermal ridges on human fingers (that produce fingerprints)?

What function is served by the epidermal or capillary ridges on human fingers, the supposedly unique impressions of which are known as fingerprints?
38
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3answers
74k views

If the brain has no pain receptors, how come you can get a headache?

I've read many years ago in books, that the brain has no nerves on it, and if someone was touching your brain, you couldn't feel a thing. Just two days before now, I had a very bad migraine, due to a ...
37
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7answers
38k views

Does red light preserve your night vision?

A number of companies have started marketing LED lamps that can be switched to a red mode. The claim is that red light is less harmful to one's night vision. Given that our eyes are less sensitive to ...
33
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4answers
47k views

How does cerebrospinal fluid circulate in the central nervous system?

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced in the choroid plexus of the lateral ventricles and in the 4th ventricle of the brain. CSF then circulates through the ventricles of the brain and the ...
29
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1answer
4k views

Is humans' height ideal?

More or less we humans are around 1.70 meters tall. My question is, would it be possible to scale us? that is, is it in principle possible having humans 1 cm tall, or 10 meters tall or is there some ...
29
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4answers
7k views

Why do we need red blood cells?

From what I know, the main function of red blood cells (RBCs) is hemoglobin transport. So, why do we need cells packed with hemoglobin: why can't it travel freely in the bloodstream? My own thoughts ...
25
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1answer
9k views

Why do stars disappear when I look at them?

I've noticed that when I'm out at night stars seem to vanish when I focus on them. I assume the reason is physiological and not astronomic. Why does this happen? I would expect that things would be ...
25
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1answer
979 views

What are the side-effects of long-term liquid breathing?

I just saw a recent Physics question that mentioned liquid breathing (which I had never heard of before) and I started to wonder about its long-term effects. Let's imagine a person underwent liquid ...
21
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4answers
3k views

Could we transmit smells electronically?

We can encode sound and images in radio waves and send them, but presumably there's some physiological reason that we can't easily make a picture or video of a smell. Could we realistically break ...
20
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5answers
8k views

How did the cardiovascular system evolve?

How has evolution created our blood, lungs and the heart? We can't exist without blood, which transports the oxygen to all areas of our body. However, the blood needs a lung, which gives it the ...
20
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1answer
6k views

Why can hair grow without limit while eyebrow cannot?

I cut my eyebrow and it grows until reach a certain length. Hair can grow without limit. Why can hair grow without limit while eyebrow cannot?
19
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5answers
11k views

What is the evolutionary reason behind the fragility of teeth?

Almost all organs in the human body have a rather large threshold within which the organ or tissue is capable of repairing itself using materials supplied by the body, whether it's made from organic ...
18
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3answers
607 views

Why would diffusion be faster across a non-specialised tissue?

The standard protocol for a person experiencing chest pains is to chew a 300mg aspirin tablet, the argument being that chewing rather than swallowing the tablet results in the aspirin entering the ...
17
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2answers
11k views

Will humans and animals be harmed by frequencies outside their hearing range?

The human ear (for example) is sensitive to frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. Any sound beyond that limit would not be heard by us naturally. Will it harm us (effect our ability to hear) when we hear ...
16
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2answers
5k views

How is eye color in humans inherited?

In high school we studied the inheritance of eye color, as it was explained to us in the most simple way: blue eye color is a recessive, monogenic, autosomal trait. Now I know that it is a bit more ...
15
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1answer
710 views

Unilateral damage to vagus nerve

Context: The vagus nerves supply the neck viscera, heart, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. They join around the oesophagus to form the oesophageal plexus. Question: Would damage to one vagus nerve ...
14
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2answers
2k views

The Uniqueness of DNA Paradox

How can everyone have unique iris and fingerprints? After a certain amount of human beings have lived on earth, wouldn't it be possible to exhaust all possible combinations? The same principle ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Average dimensions of the human back (anthropometry)

I am wondering if anyone can point me to (a scientific source that provides) the estimates of the dimensions (length x width) of the human back? I am specifically interested in the dimensions (...
13
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4answers
17k views

Can any other animal choke on food?

I read somewhere (I think it was Bill Bryson's book on the origins of the English language) that of all animals, we are the only ones that can choke on food (having something to do with how our larynx ...
13
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2answers
4k views

Using anatomical terms for human organs and parts of plants

I know how to apply anatomical directional terms (e.g., dorsal/ventral, anterior/posterior, etc.) for animals as a whole (bipeds and quadrupeds). Recently, I've been studying plant physiology, and I ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Why are the organs for reproduction and urinary excretion combined?

We eat food for getting energy to our body parts, and we excrete the wastes through urine, feces, and perspiration. Why has nature combined the urinary tract with the genital system (urogenital ...
13
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1answer
30k views

What is the standard deviation of adult human heights for males and females?

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 ...
13
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2answers
57k views

Why does human facial and head hair continue to grow?

Many people can grow extremely long head hair and facial hair. Are there evolutionary theories as to why this is the case? It seems like having long hair could be a disadvantage, and extremely long ...
13
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2answers
1k 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?
12
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2answers
2k views

Human spine: Is the coccyx really fused?

Prologue: This post is about the adult (say, a 20 year old) human skeleton; I'm not particularly interested in infant skeletons. The human spine has is composed of cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Why are there nail growth differences between humans and other mammals?

When a cat is growing, his nails are growing with him to some extent. A grown cat has a fixed nail length that is not extending. By contrast, human finger nails just keep on growing, so we have to ...
12
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1answer
25k views

Why do toenails grow much slower than fingernails?

As the title suggests, I've noticed that my fingernail grow much faster than my toenails. For instance, I usually trim my fingernails every two week or so, but for toenails the number would be about 6 ...
11
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5answers
12k views

Why is the opposite of plantar flexion called “dorsiflexion”?

Why is the action of flexing the foot so that the toes move anteriorly/superiorly (i.e. in the direction opposite that which they move during plantar flexion) described as "dorsiflexion?" In the same ...
11
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2answers
127k 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 ...
11
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1answer
205 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 ...
10
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3answers
636 views

Weighing 2 vertical halves of the human body

I had this thought while bathing: Assume a perfectly developed physical human body and anatomy in terms of size, dimensions and proportions. In theory, if I cut the body vertically into two exact ...
10
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2answers
385 views

Does the oxygen concentration equilibrate between red blood cells in the liver sinusoids?

In the sinusoids of the liver, venous blood from the hepatic portal system mixes with arterial blood from the hepatic arteries. Do oxygen molecules move between oxygenated RBCs and non-oxygenated ...
10
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1answer
546 views

Coincidence that navel is near the womb?

The attachment point of the umbilical cord in a baby girl is very close to where her own baby would develop. Is there something in the evolutionary history of mammals that explains this, or some ...
10
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1answer
649 views

Foveal ganglion cell density (Tay-Sachs Disease)

I’m currently reading on Tay-Sachs disease and have stumbled upon something regarding the typical “cherry red” macula symptom. On the one hand it is mentioned that the macula is almost devoid of ...
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2answers
5k views

How do the lungs act as a sieve to trap blood clots?

Does anyone know? I'm curious to find out as my human anatomy and physiology book doesn't go into much detail on how the lungs function as such
9
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2answers
2k views

Did human hairs actually evolve from scales?

What is the evolution of hairs? Did they evolve from scales?
9
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4answers
2k views

Is there any way a human could whistle and be unable to speak?

Is there any situation anatomically, where a human could understand the speech of others perfectly, without any capabilities of speech themselves, but would retain the ability to whistle with a tune? ...
9
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1answer
951 views

What creates the feeling of 'excess' blood pressure to an area of the body?

If I hang upside down, and feel blood rushing to my head, what structures are actually responsible for me "feeling" this excess flow of blood? Baroreceptors? Mechanoreceptors? Something else? ...
9
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1answer
407 views

Can skeletal morphology change in adults?

I'm just a curious layman, so be gentle. I read around that things like the cranial1 and pelvic2 morphology change with age, but I also read seemingly contradictory information that bones are '...
9
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1answer
2k views

Why are we using upper teeth and lower lip on labiodental sounds?

I came to wonder this when studying language (as well as other same theme question posted just few ago). For example the word "fantastic" we use upper teeth and lower lip to produce F sound, instead ...
9
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1answer
150 views

Are there certain symmetric-pair muscles that are slightly bigger and NOT due to handedness?

Ok, hear me out, I was just thinking about an article in Nature I read in the past titled "Scrotal asymmetry in man and in ancient sculpture"$^{\dagger}$ and more recently an entire medical textbook ...
9
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0answers
253 views

Anatomical Angle Made by the Fingers of an Extended Palm

Does the angle made by the fingers (excluding the thumb) of an extended palm (as shown in the figure below) have a name (such as the Lovibond or Cobb angle, for instance) ? I have already checked ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Are males taller than females in humans?

Is there any scientific evidence that in humans males are taller than females? And if so, what is the reason that they are taller (please include genes or hormones that accounts for human growth and ...
8
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2answers
251 views

Can you tell if a corpse was male or female by only examining its skull?

There are articles that says women have more rounded corner faces than men, than women noses are usually shorter, etc. But are those (and other features) tendencies or deterministic features that ...
8
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4answers
16k 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?
8
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1answer
3k views

What is the rest state for eyelids - Open or Closed?

If one were to not apply any efforts on the eyelid muscles, will they remain open or closed? In movies when we see a person die, either case could happen - their eyelids could be open or closed when ...
8
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1answer
2k views

How and why did mouth and nasal cavity evolve separate?

My initial objection is that nose filters air, mouth is for eating but is used for breathing also, plus they both are used to create sounds. What is the cause and reason in this case, why do we need ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Which part of human body sustains most pressure when standing up straight?

Let's suppose a healthy fit barefoot young adult standing comfortably on a flat solid surface. A reasonable guess is somewhere around the foot. But is it the ankle, the heel, or the Metatarsus?
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1answer
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What happens to bones that do not heal?

I would like to know the steps the body takes to heal a broken bone and what happens if it cannot heal properly. I am not looking for advice or explanations on resting and not doing activity, I am ...