13 Other Body Parts

by Deb on March 3, 2011

Person

How well do you know your body?  You’d be surprised what little kids come up with – the little girl regularly uses ‘cheeks’ or ‘forehead’ when I expect ‘face,’ and eyebrows are common additions to drawings.  So here are some of the less usual body parts.

  1. Eyebrows – why do we have them? It is probably linked to juvenile patterns of body hair, but they’re also useful for keeping the sweat out of your eyes.
  2. Ear lobes – these come in two flavours – joined to your face or hanging free.  It’s genetic which one you get.

    baby ear

    free ear lobes

  3. Nails – They protect and support the ends of your fingers, one of your most important and sensitive body parts.  Especially for little babies as they explore the world.
  4. Body hair – There are lots of theories about why we have so little and who really knows, but there are lots of interesting tidbits.
    • It’s probably related to juvenile body hair patterns in apes.
    • Men have more than women because of testosterone, but a smooth chest doesn’t mean an individual has less testosterone.
    • Whether or not you have hair on your middle knuckle is genetic.
    • If you’re going to have it, it will be on the fourth finger.
    • Big girl has a perfect spiral of hair on her upper back
    • We once watched a tiny spider make a web between two hairs on my ex’s arm.
  5. Ankle – This is actually made up of a couple of different joints, one to move the foot up and down, one to do sideways twisting.  The talus, one of the bones in there, is the only bone in the body with no muscles or tendons attached.
  6. Nostrils – They help prepare air for the lungs, with hairs and mucous to catch anything and lots of blood vessels to help warm it up.

    Nose

    Nose

  7. Armpits – Armpit sweat is a different type of sweat to the rest of your body, it has more chemicals in it and could have a signalling function.  The smell is from bacteria, not the sweat itself.  I have heard someone who swears by methylated spirits as deodorant because it kills the bacteria, not something I’m going to try myself.
  8. Knuckles – the joints in your fingers.  Contrary to what your mother told you, cracking them won’t cause arthritis.  Probably.
  9. Chest – Full of interesting organs they can feel working and changing.

    chest

    Lungs and heart, visible just right of the sternum.

  10. Throat – My girls don’t seem to understand how special and delicate throats are, we get poked and jumped into quite a bit.  Fun to touch when you are talking or singing, you can feel it vibrating.
  11. Palm – The lines are related to how your hand grows as a foetus, not your future and life.  Sorry.
  12. Skin – This is actually an organ.  We think of it as a barrier but it isn’t a simple wall.  It keeps germs out and moisture in and makes all sorts of oils, sweat and hairs. The outer cells are dead and lightly keratinised, this is the same thing that makes hair, nails and horns.
  13. Funny bone – Which we all know isn’t funny at all.  It’s a terrible pun, the bone in your upper arm is called the humerus.  The reason it hurts so badly when you bang your elbow is a major nerve has to pass over the elbow joint and there are no nice muscles to protect it.  If you hit it hard your outer fingers can actually go numb.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Science@home via Facebook March 3, 2011 at 9:15 am

As I was writing this I was thinking of the nappy hunt and babies in general, I was very tempted to put in bits about bums and nappies!

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Charndra from My Green Nappy March 10, 2011 at 6:36 am

A friend of mine actually passes out if she hits her funny bone on something. She has even had a minor fit when it has happened. Weird!

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