Written by: Shawn Funk
Our bodies are very funny. They make funny sounds and produce funny smells. Funny things happen to men in the morning. There is even a funny bone. Funny things also happen when you age. I have always been told our lives are funny. Perhaps that is because we are compelled to live in these funnily shaped bone bags called bodies. Check out these funny and weird facts about the human body.
The human body is home to millions of bacteria called the human microbiota. There are more bacteria in our bodies than in human cells. It makes you wonder how much of you is you. We acquire the first bacteria colonies when we pass through the vaginal canal during birth (Da Silva & Domingues, 2017). More bacteria are acquired in the first few years of our life before leveling off as we age. These cultures will stay with us till we die, living on our skin, nose and mouth, and of course, inside our stomach. Without the human microbiota, our immune system would suffer, hindering our ability to fight harmful microorganisms that cause disease (Da Silva & Domingues, 2017).
Knock on wood
Waking up with an erection is part of being a male, and it is normal for a man to have multiple erections through the night while asleep. The main reason for this is the activation of our parasympathetic nervous system while we sleep; it is an automatic system responsible for “digestion, getting rid of waste, and sexual arousal” (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). A full bladder can also lead to hard times because it can push against the sacral nerve, which controls erections (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). This also happens during the day, and it does not go away until you empty yourself—super embarrassing.
Nothin’ funny about it
We have all felt the electric jolt of pain ripping through our arm when we hit our funny bone. It hurts when you hit it because the funny bone is not a bone at all; it’s a nerve, and anyone who has suffered from other nerve pain can attest to the pain that is felt when they are aggravated. The Ulnar Nerve runs from our spine to our fingertips and is responsible for feeling, grip, and dexterity in our fingers and hands (McCallum, 2021). Apart from being exposed in the cranny of our elbows, it is fully protected. I have yet to laugh after hitting it.
Cut the Cheese
Did you know the average human expels .6 to 1.5 litres of gas out of their ass every day? We fart on average about 20 times a day, but it is impossible to count them because most of this important work is done while we sleep (Dresden, 2018). Luckily, only about 1 percent of the gas emitted smells bad, and it is caused by hydrogen sulphide, so be sure to add plenty of sulphur-rich foods to your diet if you are planning a crop dusting (Dresden, 2018). You know the ones: garlic, onions, cauliflower, broccoli. Wine and beer are also high in sulphur. Enjoy!
What’s up with BO?
Why do you smell bad? Well, you see, it’s very scientific. The apocrine glands responsible for hair growth during puberty secrete a “viscous, protein-rich sweat” that is irresistible to the bacteria on your skin (Felman, 2021). The sweat is odorless. However, as the bacteria break down the proteins in your sweat, they produce odorant molecules that leave others dizzy (Felman, 2021). These molecules build up on your skin, increasing the stink you subject others to. Wash your pits! All of them! Garlic, onions, chili peppers, and large amounts of protein can intensify your body odor. Please eat responsibly, and don’t forget to wash your pits!
Stylized dead skin
Did you know that your hair and nails are made from a hard protein called keratin? Keratin is not alive but a construction of dead cells driven from the blood supply (Nelder, n.d.). New cells grow inside the hair follicle and nail root; as these new cells grow, old cells are compressed and driven from the body (Nelder, n.d.). The compressed dead cells are what we see when we look at our hair and nails. Fancy! Lastly, despite what you may think or have been told, your hair and nails do not continue to grow after you die. This effect results from your skin retracting as it dehydrates and turns to dust, giving only the appearance of growth (Hammond, 2013).
Why are Grandpa’s ears so big?
I will end here with another myth about the human body. I have believed that our noses and ears never stop growing. I looked at some boomers to find confirmation, and I thought I had it. It did seem like older people had large noses and ears. But, of course, I was wrong. These features do not continue growing; they start sagging. Your cartilage and skin get droopy over time, making your ears look long or your nose hang low (WebMD, 2021). Ok, I don’t know what’s worse, a nose that doesn’t stop growing or the saggy skin thing. Damn, I think I would rather just settle on the myth. A wise man once told me, “don’t get old!”
Brennan, D. (2021) “What to know about nose and ear growth as you age”. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/what-to-know-about-nose-and-ear-growth-as-you age#:~:text=Is%20there%20any%20truth%20to,of%20skin%20changes%20and%20gravity.
Da Silva, G.J, & Domingues, S. (2017) “We are never alone: living with the human microbiota”. Frontiers. https://kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2017.00035#:~:text=The%20human%20body%20is%20inhabited,with%20us%20throughout%20our%20lives.
Dresden, D. (2018) “Ten facts about why we fart”. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321866#other-facts-about-flatulence
Felman, A. (2021) “What to know about body odor”. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173478
Hammond, C. (2013) “Do your hair and fingernails grow after death?”. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20130526-do-your-nails-grow-after-death
Health Essentials. (2020) “Why Do Men Get Morning Erections? 5 Answers to Your Questions”. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/men-get-morning-erections-5-answers-questions/
McCallum, K. (2021) “Why does hitting your funny bone hurt so much?”. Houston Methodist. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/feb/why-does-hitting-your-funny-bone-hurt-so-much/#:~:text=Where%20is%20your%20funny%20bone,It’s%20called%20the%20ulnar%20nerve
Nelder, C. (n.d.) “The hair raising statistics of nails and hair”. Christopher Stevens. https://christopherstephens.com/blogs/news/the-hair-raising-statistics