The human body is one of the most amazing constructions on the planet. Brilliantly efficient, complicated and mysterious, and capable of so much. If it wasn't for the human body you wouldn't be reading this and the rest of the wonders of the universe are only perceptible to us because of the wonders of our own anatomy. Thus it is no surprise that there are so many staggering facts and truths once you begin to look closer. Here we'll examine just a few of the world's most amazing facts about the human body.
Each square inch of your skin is covered in 32 million bacteria
It sounds like it's not only one of the world's most amazing facts about the human body, but also one of the most alarming and disgusting. The reality however is that these 32 million bacteria are not only mostly harmless, but also sometimes important for our survival.
Humans versus mice
Humans are genetically 95% + identical to mice – which is why we often use them to experiment on. However this is only because such a large proportion of our DNA is black – known as 'junk DNA' – meaning that we're technically very similar to all animals really. One of the world's most amazing facts about the human body in itself.
Your chemicals have been on an incredible journey
The Himalayas are mountains constructed of mostly sedimentary rock. This means that they are largely constructed of living tissue – the skeletons and shells of marine animals and coral. The Himalayas then are essentially made up of old dead animals, and fascinatingly the same is also true of humans with the elements that make us up having been recycled from animals, rocks and even dinosaurs.
You come from space
The point above is no doubt one of the world's most amazing facts about the human body, but it also leads to another even more fascinating point. You might be wondering where all of those elements came from in the first place – well the answer is space and the carbon compounds we know as amino acids, the protein that makes us up – has actually been found in meteorites suggesting that this was the transport method that first brought life to our planet.
And dying stars...
Not impressive enough? Well how about the fact that the only way carbon can be made is through nuclear fusion requiring temperatures that we could never replicate here on Earth. Even the sun isn't hot enough. The only way that the element carbon can be made then is by a dying sun called a red giant. In other words the carbon that makes up our body was forged in the heart of just such a dying sun then travelled to Earth on a meteorite. If that's not one of the world's most amazing facts about the human body then nothing is.
A modular brain?
Debates have raged about whether the human brain is 'holistic' or 'modular'. That means whether it all works as a whole, or whether it's in fact several smaller areas functioning independently and communicating. Conditions exist however that suggest the latter to extremes – a simple bump on the head for instance has in the past caused no symptoms other than the complete inability to recall the names of vegetables.
The storage capacity of the brain
You might not think of the human brain in terms of computer storage. However some researchers have nevertheless attempted to do just that with results generally ranging from 1-10 terrabytes. This is presuming however that each neuron holds one 'bit' of information (meaning a value of one or zero essentially). Other estimates suggest much higher numbers. Either way it's not bad (it's also important to remember that the brain has a much better and completely different method of 'compressing' and storing information which means that the value is very different in practice).
A changeable brain...
Lastly you might think of the brain as a fairly concrete and permanent object, but our last of the world's most amazing facts about the human body suggests something entirely different – which is that the brain is malleable and can change shape depending on how you use it much like a muscle in what is known as 'brain plasticity'. Meanwhile 'neurogenesis' in adults has also been shown to be possible.