Questions tagged [human-biology]

This tag is for questions about the general biological features of human beings (as opposed to the biology of non-humans).

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25
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3answers
7k views

Is there any use of CO₂ in human body?

We all know CO₂ as a waste product of metabolism . Does CO₂ have any helpful role , apart from having a role in pH of blood ?
25
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2answers
2k views

How is temperature sensed?

Can anyone summarize the mechanism by which when an object of a given temperature is placed in contact with, say, the skin on a human fingertip, the average speed of the particles of the object is ...
25
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3answers
34k views

Why do people have antibodies against other blood types?

The ABO blood type divides each blood type according to whether they have the "A" and "B" antigen(s) (AB has both, O has none). People also have antibodies against the antigens they don't have (AB has ...
25
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2answers
615 views

Can an adult without genetic lactase persistence still develop a tolerance for dairy foods?

While investigating the rise of adult lactose tolerance, I came across the news that China has been encouraging its citizens to drink more milk, even though most of the Asian population lacks the SNP (...
25
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5answers
27k views

Why does hair grow after trimming but remains at a constant length after a while?

Some hair especially body hair regrows after trimming but stops growing after a while. What is the mechanism behind control of hair growth and how is the length limit determined?
25
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2answers
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Why does looking at bright light trigger sneezing in some people?

Why does looking at bright light trigger sneezing in some people? Are there any recent studies that have found a cause for this Photic sneeze reflex? The Wikipedia article only references studies ...
25
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1answer
132k views

Why do vaccines cause your arm to hurt?

When you get a shot for a vaccine (for example, the annual flu vaccine), the nurse frequently indicates that your arm will ache for a day or two, maybe more. This ache is typically not just a pain ...
24
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4answers
18k views

If body temperature is 37°C (98.6°F), why are most people more comfortable at around 21°C (70°F)?

It may be different for other people, but for me, anything above 32°C (90°F) is very uncomfortable, and my body is inclined to seek cooler temperatures. But I would think that at 32°C, the body would ...
24
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2answers
59k views

How many human cells are there in our body, on average?

How many human cells are there in our body, on average? Wikipedia says 1013: Bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, and there are at least ten times as many bacteria as human cells in ...
24
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1answer
11k views

What is the speed of blood?

The speed of blood may vary from one place to another and may be quite low in the tiniest vessels compared to the biggest one. What is the speed of blood while exiting a normal human heart?
23
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2answers
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How can the organic mercury compound Thiomersal be not dangerously toxic?

My intuition tells me that organic mercury compounds are absolutely toxic. Unimaginably, fundamentally, extremely and uncompromisingly toxic. I know that is not true for all doses. Thiomersal is the ...
23
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2answers
4k views

Why is it advised that infants are fed mother's milk?

I have heard that mother's milk is preferred over other baby foods, because it contains immunoglobulins (secretory IgA), and other essential nutrients. But why is mother's milk so special? Any ...
23
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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?
23
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1answer
53k views

What's the smallest size a human eye can see?

During a biology experiment at school, where we would look at waterweeds under a microscope, my teacher said something about that it's impossible for the human eye to see the cells without a ...
23
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2answers
11k views

Why do we like salt?

A few friends of mine told me that salt provides zero nutritional value to us, and in fact can harm our bodies. Now, these guys are medical students, and being an engineering student myself, I decided ...
23
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2answers
8k views

What is the mechanism behind “acquired” alcohol tolerance?

I can understand natural variation in alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) in a population leading to variation in rate of inebriation (after controlling for other variables -- e.g., mass, food consumption, ...
23
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4answers
28k views

In Japan, the official average body temperature is 36.0 °C. Why so different from that of Europe?

The Japanese Wikipedia states that the average human body temperature is 36.0 °C (here,"ヒト"). The statement references the data from the Japanese government. Actually all of my Japanese friends think ...
23
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1answer
7k views

Why do we have five fingers?

Humans (and other humanoid mammals) have five fingers in each hand. Curious to know, why five? Wouldn't more fingers be more useful? Is there any evidence that it used to be different and natural ...
22
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9answers
20k views

Why have humans evolved much more quickly than other animals?

Humans have, in a relatively short amount of time, evolved from apes on the African plains to upright brainiacs with nukes, computers, and space travel. Meanwhile, a lion is still a lion and a ...
22
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4answers
7k views

Is monogamy a human innate behaviour?

As the question states, got curious and I was wondering if monogamy is an innate human behaviour or is it because of how we built society (religion, traditions, etc.)? Let's say we go back in time, ...
22
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4answers
7k views

Height and natural selection in humans?

I watched the documentary "Evolve" recently and in the segment on "size" Scott V. Edwards, Harvard evolutionary biologist mentioned the idea that humans might evolve to be 7' tall in 'hundreds of ...
22
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3answers
30k views

Why does the face turn pale in dangerous situations?

I know what the effects are of a dangerous situation on the brain, i.e., an activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which eventually results in an increased heart rate and elevated ...
22
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1answer
1k views

Cells of umbilical cord - mom's or son's?

Let's say we have a mother giving a birth to a son. In a very clear manner the cells of these two individuals are very different, of course. Yet there is an umbilical cord connecting them. Then there ...
22
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1answer
8k views

Why does mint oil feel cold on the skin?

When putting (japanese) mintoil on the skin it produces a cool feeling. You can experience this, when adding it to your bath or using a spray with mint oil on your skin. The cool feeling occures ...
22
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1answer
418 views

What is the mechanism responsible for the periodicity of hiccups?

Hiccups (singultus) are caused by involuntary spasm of the intercostal muscles and diaphragm, producing a sudden inspiration with associated glottic closure. It seems the neurobiology of the reflex ...
21
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3answers
18k views

Why isn't vomit corrosive?

Vomit comes from gastric acid, right? And in gastric acid there is HCl and HCl is corrosive (strong), how come when I vomit, it doesn't destroy things that it (as the vomit) hits (such as floor, table)...
21
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1answer
26k views

Why doesn't water enter my body through my anus or genitals when swimming?

So when we swim, we can make water not enter through our nose and mouth, simply by holding our breath. However, the mouth and the nose aren't the only cavities. What about the anus and the genitals? ...
21
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3answers
15k views

Supercomputer Vs Human Brain

With supercomputers doing calculation in petaflops ($10^{15}$ Calculations per Second), have we crossed the speed of Human Brain?
21
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1answer
129k views

Can a person really die quickly from biting their tongue?

A common trope in certain circles (like Eastern martial fiction), is someone committing quick suicide by biting his or her tongue. But is this really possible? The internet turns up millions of ...
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2answers
2k views

Can Biologists identify all viruses?

I went to the doctor today with my girlfriend, and the doctor said that she had a virus but doesn't know which one and she should let the infection heal with some rest. The fact that the doctor didn'...
20
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5answers
10k 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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4answers
87k views

What is the armpit hair for?

Modern human beings, especially women, cut their armpit hair. It seems to me the armpit hair is trivial/useless. Shortly speaking, what is the armpit hair for?
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5answers
13k 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 ...
20
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3answers
133k views

What is the healing process of mouth wounds?

When we have an external wound, blood generally tends to clot there, forming a layer of solid scab. Yesterday, while brushing my teeth, I somehow hurt my gums and it got all bloody. However, it did ...
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4answers
4k views

Are red blood cells prokaryotic?

After searching "do antibiotics impact the immune system" I found out that antibiotics target prokaryotic cells. It all made a lot of sense thinking about all those yogurt recommendations you get ...
19
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3answers
621 views

Are human fetuses more likely to be male? [duplicate]

Question: From a physiological point of view, when sex is determined in a human fetus, is it equally likely to be male or female? Studies in this area typically measure age at birth, where the data ...
19
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3answers
11k views

What causes a 'stuffy' or 'runny' nose when you have a cold?

When humans get the common cold, a common symptom is a stuffy or runny nose. Is that the body's immune response or is that the virus's doing?
19
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1answer
78k views

What is the female equivalent of the morning erection that some men experience?

There was question about what causes "morning wood." It was answered that the erection in the morning is caused by decline of norepinephrine during REM sleep. Which in part allows to prevent ...
19
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3answers
2k views

Why do we get runny noses in the cold?

The most annoying thing for me about being cold is a runny nose. Is there an advantage to having a runny nose when cold? What does having a runny nose achieve?
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2answers
17k views

Possible? When a pregnant woman suffers an organ damage, fetus would send stem cells to the damage organ to help repair it?

I am quite sure that there is this blood-placental barrier between the mother and the baby so that nothing (except a type of antibody) can pass through it. But I remember reading somewhere that when ...
19
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3answers
4k views

Why does hair turn grey or white, and why does it happen later for some?

The question is pretty simple: what is happening molecularly when hair turns grey or white? I would imagine that it is due to the lack of a particular compound. I'm also interested in why some people'...
19
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2answers
834 views

Can parts of a human brain be asleep independently of each other, or vary in the times required for them to fall asleep?

I know that some birds and marine animals can continue complicated activity (swimming, flying?) while one hemisphere of their brain is asleep. I'm interested if human brain has some parts of it that ...
19
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5answers
19k views

Origin, or source, of rhesus negative in human blood

This is my first post here, so please be gentle. I recently learned that I have Rh- blood (I'm A-), and was idly looking into blood types on Wikipedia. I was surprised to find that relatively few (~15%...
19
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1answer
10k views

Is it correct that the body only responds to the most painful stimulus?

I'm rather ashamed to say that this question is partly based on an episode of House. I have previously heard that, if there are multiple simultaneous painful stimuli, the mind will only feel the ...
18
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4answers
8k views

What causes the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria?

I understand bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to selection pressures, but how do resistant bacteria process antibiotics when exposed to it, compared to non-resistant bacteria. Also, ...
18
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4answers
3k views

Where’s the flaw in my proposed TB Treatment?

Ten years ago, I emailed a prominent lung specialist with my suggestion for a treatment for Tuberculosis. His lack of response led me to believe that the idea had no merit whatsoever – but I had no ...
18
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3answers
734 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 ...
18
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1answer
3k views

How fast can a human run?

I'm a runner (cross country) and I'm always amazed at how fast Olympic sprinters are. There's a lot of hype about those in the 100-meter dash being the fastest in the world, and we're constantly ...
18
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3answers
1k views

How did the human brain evolve?

A common question posed is, "how did the eye evolve?", because the eye is so complex. However, this has been answered rather clearly and there are several examples around the world of animals in ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Are human bodies programmed to die?

Following from this question: What is the evolutionary advantage of death?: Is there any evidence that human bodies have systemic self-destruction built into their developmental program? I'm not ...

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