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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14
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2answers
905 views

Why can you not tickle yourself?

It's the age old question, why can't we tickle ourselves? If you rub your fingers along your skin, sure there's sensation but you don't break down into a laughing fit (at least I don't :P), if someone ...
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2answers
12k views

How does a brain distinguish stimuli?

If all the brain ever "sees" is action potentials, how do we know that one set of action potentials denotes a flash of light, another one signifies a loud sound, etc ?
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3answers
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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 ...
14
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3answers
16k views

Why did humans become bipedal?

Somewhere in evolutionary history homo started walking upright and became bipedal. You hear these hypotheses that, by walking upright, they could see better across the grassy savannas to escape ...
14
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2answers
69k views

Which human cells have the longest and shortest lifespan?

Which cells in a human have the longest lifespan? Which cell has the shortest lifespan?
14
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1answer
13k views

Can you consider a human as alive, or is it the cells on the body that are alive?

Sorry if this question seems strange, but in the recent time I have been interested in the question of what life is and how you can define life. My question: How long can individual cells live on a ...
14
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1answer
19k views

Why does scar tissue change color?

I was wondering why, when you are cold, scar tissue turns bluish or purple while original skin stays the same color. The only thing I can think of, is that maybe scar tissue gets less circulation ...
14
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1answer
1k views

How heavy are all foreign microorganisms in and on the human body?

I define "foreign microorganism" as a microorganism which is not produced by the human body (not antibodies or leukocytes) including bacteria, viruses, fungi, biofilm aggregates or small lifeforms ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Why doesn't HDL cause diseases like LDL? [duplicate]

LDL particles pose a risk for cardiovascular disease when they invade the endothelium and become oxidized, since the oxidized forms are more easily retained by the proteoglycans. A complex set of ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Could humans and chimpanzees hybridize?

In some cases two species can hybridize. For example, Tigers and lions can hybridize to produce "Ligers". Would it also be possible for humans and chimpanzees (or any other species) to hybridize ? ...
14
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1answer
221 views

What portions of the brain have drastic changes in activation when we “sense” someone is there?

I was watching an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ("Commando") where he plays an elite soldier (surprise). An enemy tries to sneak up on him, and Arnold says that he smelled the other guy approaching....
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2answers
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Why is fructose not glucose the main energy source of sperm?

The seminal fluid contains fructose as the main energy source for the sperm and not glucose. Why is fructose and not glucose the primary energy source for these sperm, since glucose is the ...
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5answers
18k 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 ...
13
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2answers
27k views

How does HCl not burn our stomach?

How does the digestive acid (HCl) not burn the surrounding membrane of our stomach? It digests the majority of raw food we eat but how does it stay safely in our stomach? Also, how does the stomach ...
13
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3answers
40k views

How does sodium in one's diet affect blood pressure?

Due to high blood pressure, my doctor has recommended I go on a low-sodium diet. So, that got me wondering what it is about sodium that drives this recommendation? What does sodium do to a body that,...
13
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5answers
23k views

Why can't ciliary muscles in the human eye relax like other muscles?

I had laser eye surgery a decade ago, but in recent years my eyesight has become significantly myopic. I consulted an ophthalmologist to see if this was eye strain because I work at computers a lot, ...
13
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1answer
33k views

Will a bone marrow transplant change one's blood type?

Will a bone marrow transplant change one's blood type? Or is the donor blood type matched with the person before transplant?
13
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1answer
36k 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 ...
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4answers
6k views

Can viruses be toxic?

Bacteria can produce toxins like endotoxins and exotoxins. In diseases like cholera or tetanus they can harm infected people due to these toxins. Now, although viruses are much smaller and are ...
13
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3answers
7k views

Should we induce fever to assist healing?

I am currently reading "The Fundamentals of Anatomy Physiology" 10th edition, and have found it an incredibly interesting book. I have just been reading about the lymphatic system, and the various ...
13
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1answer
33k views

What senses are active while sleeping?

During sleep, our body activity decreases. I am wondering on the extent of the lowering of this activity regarding our five senses. Clearly, the sense of touch is still very efficient since shaking a ...
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4answers
20k views

Why do human females have permanently prominent breasts?

Humans seem to be the only animal whose females have breasts that permanently have a "full" appearance, ie a prominent amount of tissue even when not lactating, whereas other species' breasts seem to ...
13
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1answer
28k 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Do twins “run in the family”?

My wife and I recently found out that we are going to have twins and so nearly everyone asks if we have a family history of twins. Now I know that the answer for me is that it doesn't matter—as ...
13
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3answers
940 views

How does the brain immediately know when one's thirst has been quenched?

The question struck me the other day when I drank a glass of water. I understand that there are at least two conditions under which the brain signals thirst: extracellular thirst, when there's not ...
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0answers
2k views

Why do we experience temperatures below 37 degrees Celsius as 'hot'? [duplicate]

We always prefer to be in 20-25° C, although our core temperature is about 37°? Why is our skin temperature lower than our core temperature?
12
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3answers
5k views

Why do hot water baths affect only males' fertility? Why not females'?

Here is the link where urologists are warning men not to take hot water baths. Why does it affect only males' fertility? Why not females also?
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4answers
4k views

How does an embryo know where to grow limbs etc

For example you have a cell or already a bunch of cells. Those cell(s) divide and after several week you have a grown organism, for example a human with limbs, several different organs etc. However, ...
12
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2answers
6k views

Is there any biological reason that professional swimming is dominated by white people? [closed]

I suppose that the question should be turned around to "Why is it extremely rare to see black people competing in professional swimming?" because it is the absence of this phenotype while watching the ...
12
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4answers
7k views

Is nicotine toxic to humans?

More specifically, is nicotine in the concentrations that smokers receive when smoking cigarettes toxic? I know that in great enough concentrations it can be toxic (but then, so can just about ...
12
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3answers
7k views

What would happen if one eats silica gel?

What happens if one actually does go about eating the beads in those "do-not-eat" packets?
12
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2answers
19k views

Why can all animals swim in water without learning to swim but humans cannot?

I had a question since I was a child. I was always curious about the fact that all animals can swim in water. They don't need any training or to learn swimming. But humans need to learn to swim. Why ? ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there a consensus on whether or not race exists on a biological level?

The most recent survey I could find was from 1985 which said that 16% of biologist disagreed that "[t]here are biological races in the species Homo sapiens." I was wondering if there's been a change ...
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1answer
3k views

If fever is a natural immune defense, why do people take drugs to lower it?

If fever is a natural defense against pathogens, why do sick people take NSAIDs to reduce the fever?
12
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3answers
11k views

Why we do not get hurt from HCl secreted in the stomach?

I read in my book that during digestion our stomach secretes hydrochloric acid ($HCl$). Why we do not get hurt from it? It was also said that mucous provides protection, but from where is it coming?
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2answers
8k views

Do animals get sick from eating dirty food or eating off the floor?

Humans have very strict tradition of hygiene, such as washing hands before eating, using utensils, and in general keeping as much distance between food and dirt as possible. At the same time, most ...
12
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3answers
7k views

Do spinal cord reflexes (such as the knee-jerk reflex) continue to function under general anaesthesia?

The knee-jerk reflex (patellar reflex) is an example of a stretch reflex (myotatic reflex). Stretch reflexes are monosynaptic reflexes happening in the spinal cord without involvement of the brain. ...
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2answers
311 views

Why is the microbial ecosystem of the gut so susceptible to disruption by pathogens?

From all accounts, it seems as if the Escherichia, Enterobacter, etc. that live and thrive in the human gut are pretty well entrenched. I know that these microbial populations are often analyzed as ...
12
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2answers
876 views

Could an “overactive” brain increase the chances of Alzheimer's Disease?

From Raichle ME. 2010. Two views of brain function. Trends in cognitive sciences 14: 180–90: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of progressive cognitive decline and dementia in ...
12
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1answer
939 views

Does bioluminescence occur in humans too?

I read that Japanese researchers have developed very sensitive camera that recorded bioluminescence in humans; is it possible and if so what is the mechanism behind it?
12
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3answers
21k views

What is the purpose of gluconeogenesis?

The gluconeogenesis pathway seems quite pointless to me. I don't understand why an organism would want to spend energy to create a molecule that can then be metabolized again for less energy? The ...
12
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1answer
128k views

Name (and meaning of the absence) of the white semicircle at the base of the fingernail?

At the base of fingernail, there is a white semicircle (see on the first picture). But sometimes there isn't one. My questions are: what is this white semicircle on the fingernail, and what causes it?...
12
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2answers
29k views

Do white Australians have a distinct look? [closed]

Background I've heard from many people working in tourism or similar industries that, white Australians can be recognized as Australian solely by their facial features. Being Australian myself I've ...
12
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2answers
614 views

What can the timing of human urination tell about the human's physical condition and circadian rhythms?

I've noticed a peculiar phenomenon. A subject drinks 400 ml of water, then observes time until the urge to urinate is felt. The time is 15 minutes. The subject releases water. 14 minutes later another ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What biological functions does crying serve?

Tears suddenly start flowing out of our eyes when we find our long lost friend or when someone unexpectedly decides to break up with us. Do tears really save us from harm? Or are they just the reflex ...
12
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1answer
929 views

In which order did the cells of the immune system evolve?

Thinking about how complex the interactions between different types of immune system cells (T-helpers, T-Killers, Phagocytes, B-Cells etc.) are, it's fascinating how they all combine to get the ...
12
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1answer
656 views

What bacteria do unborn babies contain?

This Scientific American article states that "[human] infestation [by bacteria] begins at birth". This would suggest that unborn babies are free from any bacteria. However, if the mother catches a ...
12
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1answer
409 views

What prevents a pregnant woman's immune system from recognizing her fetus as nonself (and attacking)?

I'm familiar with the scenario of Rh- mother with Rh+ fetus having complications (more so after her first child), but that's not what I'm curious about. I want to know mechanistically why a pregnant ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Is there an evolutionary advantage to crying when sad?

It seems as though the act of crying when sad does nothing to relieve that sadness. Is there an advantage to crying from an evolutionary perspective, or is it the end result of a different process? ...
12
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3answers
3k 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 ...

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