The human body is amazing. Not only can it survive through unthinkable turmoil, but it also has thousands of functions simultaneously cooperating with each other in order to keep our bodies running smoothly at all times.
However, what’s even more spectacular about our bodies is that they’re a total mystery, and constantly allow us to delve into the unknown. There are a wealth of vessels and organs lying beneath our skin that we never knew existed, and some that even scientists hadn’t discovered until as recently as 2017!
Here are 12 incredible body parts and functions you had no idea existed.
1. Male breast milk
You may, at some point in your life, have wondered why men have nipples if they’re unable to breastfeed. In fact, this is a question that many scientists have struggled to answer themselves. Well, it turns out that every male human also has mammary glands! The thing is, the tissue inside the glands is usually so little that it has no real function. However, a very small minority of men have gynecomastia, a condition which leads to men developing very large mammary glands. This can go on to cause lactation in men.
2. The vas deferens
The vas deferens is a tiny little tube beside the testicles. It carries sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct; in other words, it allows semen to be released when a man orgasms. It’s an incredibly important part of the male reproductive system, yet so few people know of its existence.
3. The stapedius
The stapedius is the smallest muscle in the human body, and it controls the stapes which sends vibrations to our brains. Without the stapedius, we would be overwhelmed by these vibrations and everything we hear would be excessively loud.
4. The mesentery
Until 2017, no one knew the mesentery had any kind of function. In fact, scientists thought it was simply a mass of broken tissue. So, what is its function exactly? Well, the mesentery allows blood vessels and nerves to travel to certain organs in the body. It’s hardly out of the ordinary which is why it’s so incredible that it hadn’t been recognized as an organ until 2017, even after Leonardo Da Vinci discovered its function all the way back in 1508.
5. The tail
You may already know that humans used to have tails. We did evolve from ape-like creatures after all. But what you may not have known is that each and every one of us still develops a tail while in the womb. It’s essentially a leftover from our ancestors, but drops off as the baby grows.
6. The anatomical snuffbox
The anatomical snuffbox is a deepening on the side of the hand. Often it’s not immediately visible and that’s mainly because the process of evolution has rendered it totally unnecessary. Still, you can imagine how it got that name.
7. Vanishing bones
All adults humans have lost 144 of the bones they had when they were babies. Despite the fact that babies are obviously a lot smaller than adults, they are born with 300 bones, whereas adults have 206 bones. So how do they disappear? Well, they actually don’t disappear at all, they simply fuse together.
8. The floating bone
The floating bone AKA the hyoid bone is a bone underneath the tongue. It keeps the tongue in place and basically allows humans to speak. Amazingly, it’s not attached to any other bone in the body. It is connected to the rest of the body only through muscles in the throat.
9. The third eyelid
The third eyelid is a transparent membrane found in the eyes of birds, reptiles and certain mammals. It protects their eyes by moistening them so that they have sufficient vision needed in order to hunt. In the corner of the human eye is the leftover remnant of the third eyelid that used to exist in humans.
10. Dimples of Venus
Some people, especially women, have two dimples just above their bottom. It is thought that they make it easier for women to orgasm because the little indents allow for better circulation around the pelvis.
11. The second nose
Our second nose, also known as Jacobson’s organ, is a collection of sensory naval cells that are able to detect pheromones from other humans. Pheromones are chemicals that we produce to attract potential partners. It takes about half a second to detect another human’s pheromones which influences whether or not we find them attractive.
12. The claw retractor
The vast majority of people have a claw retractor AKA a palmaris longus which is a muscle that connects the elbow to the hand. The reason you probably didn’t know that it existed is because it serves no function in modern human beings. In our ancestors, they provided the arms and fists with extra strength when undergoing strenuous activity.
It’s nothing short of incredible that there are still so many parts of our body that we are totally unaware of. There are so many vital processes that go on in our body without us ever noticing them.
It also serves as a reminder that we lead relaxed and comparatively stress-free lives in comparison to our ancestors because so many bodily functions that were once necessary to our survival have disappeared over thousands of years.