With April 1st just around the corner, we thought a little fooling might be fun! So this issue of Bob’s Bones contains eight incredible facts about the human body… And two things we made up!
So: which of these eight things are true, and which two are false?
|1.||Your body has roughly the same number of hair follicles as the body of a chimpanzee: On the surface, this appears to be such a preposterous statement that it must be a lie… But then, we’ll remind you that the hairs on a chimpanzee are coarse and dark… While much of the hair on a human body is so fine as to seem invisible. Inch by inch, it works out the same: could this possibly be true? Ponder that!|
|2.||The nail on the middle finger of your dominant hand grows faster that the others: No one’s quite sure why but it seems the growth of your nails is related to the length of your fingers. The longest fingers are those in the middle… And, for some reason, your dominant hand grows fractionally quicker than the other! Sounds credible… But is it really true?!|
|3.||In the course of a life, the average European eats and drinks a volume equivalent to consuming a humpback whale: Sounds plausible! Doesn’t it? Maybe not… A humpback whale? That’d be between 25 & 40 tons of food. And what? 11,000 gallons of liquid? Actually, that sounds like an awful lot… But if you can picture yourself consuming a whale in your lifetime then say this is true…|
|4.||Your small intestine is longer than your large intestine: It’s strangely named, it’s confusing and it’s enormous! Most people’s small intestine, when stretched out, is four times taller than you. If you were to fold it back and forth on itself, it wouldn’t even fit back in its own cavity! But the large intestine has a greater diameter, and that’s why your intestines are named the way they are. Could that possibly be true?|
|5.||Each of your lungs has a surface area just a little smaller than a football field: In order to oxygenate blood efficiently, your lungs are filled with thousands of tiny bronchi and alveoli. This huge surface area makes converting oxygen to carbon dioxide easier… It sounds incredible but, if they could be flattened out, their surface area wouldn’t be far off that of a professional-sized football field. Not true, surely? Or is it?!|
|6.||Over the course of a lifetime, the average person produces enough saliva to fill a swimming pool: Now, you may not know what biological function saliva plays – but it’s essential! It not only keeps your mouth lubricated, it also starts off the whole digestive process. So, in that context, it could be true to say that if you collected it all up, a lifetime’s worth would take up that two-swimming pool volume! It COULD easily be true… But is it?|
|7.||25 million new cells are produced in your body every second: Even factoring in all the cells and tissues, inside and out, one struggles to believe this! But if it’s true, you produced roughly the same number of cells as there are people in the USA whilst reading this paragraph alone… Inconceivable! So it’s either an astonishing fact or an outrageous lie! But which?|
|8.||You have fewer bones as you grow older: This is clearly a lie! If it was true, you could wind up no more than a calcium stickman in your dotage! That’s not something that’s noted as happening in medical journals, so that’s that… Or is it? Because when you’re born, you actually have 350 bones. Some of these grow together and fuse… And you end up with 206 bones as an adult. So – between babyhood and adulthood – you technically grow older and have fewer bones. Now it sounds more plausible… But is it true?|
|9.||There are the same number of bones in your feet as there are cards in a pack: 52? That means there’d be 26 bones in each foot! Sounds like a lot. Sounds fishy! More so if the above is true, and you have 206 bones in the whole of your body… Could it be that as much as 25% of the bones in the body are in your feet alone? No! It’s nonsense… Or is it?|
|10.||An individual’s coughs and sneezes have the same speed about 100mph: Coughs and sneezes are your body’s way of trying to -expel dust, debris and other foreign bodies from your mouth and nose respectively… And because these orifices share a common passage, it makes sense that their expulsions occur at roughly the same speed. In fact, if you’ve had the unfortunate experience of coughing violently and sneezing simultaneously, you already know whether or not this is a fact… Or do you?!|
So… There you have it. Ten plausible biological statements. Eight true. Two false. But which are which? Scroll down past the picture of Bob, below, to find out!
Ready? The facts are these:
- Your body really does have roughly the same number of hair follicles as a chimpanzee!
- The nail on the middle finger of your dominant hand does grow faster that the others.
- In the course of a life, the average European eats and drinks a volume equivalent to consuming a humpback whale.
- Your small intestine is longer than your large intestine.
- Over the course of a lifetime, the average person produces enough saliva to fill a swimming pool.
- 25 million new cells are produced in your body every second.
- You have fewer bones as you grow older.
- There are the same number of bones in your feet as there are cards in a pack.
Which means that these are the lies…
- Your lungs don’t have a surface area just a little smaller than a football field. Massive though each of their surface areas is, they come up much smaller than that… But if you guessed it was a lie, you might be surprised to hear that each lung has the same surface area as one side of a tennis court…
- And no, an individual’s coughs and sneezes do not have the same speed. Fast as a sneeze is – usually around 100mph – coughs travel much slower: a disappointing 60mph! Not even close to a sneeze!