52 Amazing Facts about the Human Body

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published October 24, 2016
  • The largest bone in the human body is the femur. It can support 30 times the weight of a person's body. Ounce for ounce, that's stronger than steel.[6]
  • Messages from the human brain travel along nerves at up to 200 miles an hour (322 km/h).[6]
  • In an adult human, 25% of their bones are in the feet.[3]
  • The gluteus maximus is the body’s largest muscle.[4]
  • A human’s ears and nose never stop growing.[8]
  • A human’s little finger contributes over 50% of the hand’s strength.[5]
  • It would take a someone typing 60 words per minute, eight hours a day, around 50 years to type the human genome
  • If a human being’s DNA were uncoiled, it would stretch 10 billion miles, from Earth to Pluto and back.[8]
  • There are more bacteria in a human mouth than there are people in the world.[8]
  • Within three days of dying, the enzymes that digested a person’s food will begin to diegest that person’s body.[8]
  • For an adult human, taking just one step uses up to 200 muscles.[8]
  • A human skeleton renews itself completely every 10 years.[7]
  • The same skin cells that make up a human vagina are the same type of cells that are in a human mouth.[8]
  • By the time a person reaches 70 years old, he or she will have consumed over 12,000 gallons of water.
    [8]
  • Bone is five times stronger than a steel bar of the same width, but it is brittle and can fracture on impact.[8]
  • The body can detect taste in .0015 seconds, which is faster than the blink of an eye.[8]
  • The taste cells in our taste buds live for only about two weeks
  • Taste buds are not visible to the naked eye; the little bumps that can be seen on the tongue are actually papillae, on top of which rest the taste buds[8]
  • There are ten times more bacteria cells in your body than human cells.[8]
  • The brain contains 86 billion nerve cells joined by 100 trillion connections. This is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way.[8]
  • The largest cell in the human body is an egg (or ovum) and is barely visible to the naked eye.[3]
  • Like fingerprints, each human tongue has its own unique print.[1]
  • Every hour, humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin, or about 1.5 pounds every year. By the time a person is 70 years old, they will have lost about 105 pounds of skin.[1]
  • The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime, enough to fill two swimming pools.[6]
  • Your spit contains your entire genetic blueprint
  • The lining in a person's stomach is replaced every 4 to 5 days to prevent it from digesting itself.[1]
  • An adult humans small intestine is about 18 to 23 feet long, which is about four times as long as an adult is tall.[1]
  • Semen normally contains 1-8 billion sperm per fluid ounces (140-300 million sperm per millimeter).[3]
  • A person’s feet has about 500,000 sweat glands and can produce about a pint of sweat a day.[1]
  • A human sneeze can travel about 100 mph or more.[1]
  • Fingernails grow faster on the hand a person writes with. They also grow faster than toenails, and faster on longer fingers.[1]
  • An adult is made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms
  • An adult human body is made up of about 7 octillion atoms.[4]
  • The strongest muscle in the human body is the masseter, or the jaw muscle.[3]
  • The liver the largest internal organ and is the only organ that can regenerate itself. However, repeated damage to the liver can eventually injure and scar this amazing organ.[4]
  • The human brain uses just as much power as a 10-watt light bulb.[7]
  • The word “organ” comes from an old Greek word, organon, which means “tool” or “instrument.”[8]
  • There are so many nerve cells in a human brain that it would take almost 3,000 years to count them.[8]
  • An adult’s skin weighs between 8 and 11 pounds (3.6 to 5 kg). It’s surface area is about 18-22 square feet (1.7 to 2 sq. m), which is the size of the floor in a one-person tent.[8]
  • The longest bone in an adult human is the thighbone, measuring about 18 inches (46 cm). The shortest bone is in the ear and is just 0.1 inches (.25 cm) long, which is shorter than a grain of rice.[7]
  • An adult who weighs 150 pounds has a skeleton that weighs about 21 pounds.[8]
  • An average person walks about 100,000 miles (160,934 km) in his or her lifetimes, which is like walking around the world four times at the equator.[8]
  • A person will eat approximately 35 tons of food in a lifetime
  • In a lifetime, a human body will process about 100,000 pounds of food.[8]
  • The fastest muscles in a human body are the ones that make the eyes blink. They can contract in less than one-hundredth of a second. In just one day, a person may blink their eyes over 11,500 times.[4]
  • The word “muscle” is from the Latin word musculus, or “little mouse.” The Romans thought a flexing muscle looked like a mouse moving under the skin.[8]
  • Humans spend about five years of their lives eating.[7]
  • An adult’s stomach can hold over two quarts (1.9 l) of food. That’s enough to fill four large or eight small drinking glasses.[8]
  • The average human produces about three to eight ounces of feces a day.[8]
  • The average person has about 5 pounds of bacteria in his or her digestive system.[7]
  • In an adult human, blood circulates about 12,000 miles (19,000 km) a day. This is like traveling from east to west across the widest part of the Pacific Ocean.[8]
  • A human heart beats over 3 billion times during an average human lifespan.[4]
  • A disorder of the inner ear causes every sound within the body to be amplified, including eye movements
  • Some people can hear their eyeballs moving around in their head.[2]
  • The word “lung” is from a German word meaning “light”; together two adult human lungs weigh only 2.5 pounds (11.1kg).[8]
  • If you spread out an adult human’s brain, it would be about the size of a pillowcase.[8]
  • Adult humans spend about 33% of their lives asleep. A python spends about 75% of their life, and a dog spends about 44%.[8]
  • A human eye can distinguish between approximately 10 million different colors.[8]
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References

1 "16 Unusual Unusual Facts About the Human Body." How Stuff Works. 2016. Accessed: August 28, 2016. http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/parts/16-unusual-facts-about-the-human-body.htm

2 Greenemeir, Larry. "Medical Mystery: How Can Some People Hear Their Own Eyeballs Move?" Scientific America. September 1, 2011. Accessed: August 20, 2016.

3 How The Body Works. New York, NY : DK, 2016.

4 Roberts, Alice. The Complete Human Body : The Definitive Visual Guide. New York, NY : DK Publishing, 2016.

5 Scarton, Dana. “Get Along Without a Pinkie? It’s Tougher than You Think.” The New York Times. December 15, 2008. Accessed: August 28, 2016.

6 Ultimate Weird but True: 2. National Geographic Kids. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society.

7 Walker, Richard. Human Body. London : DK, 2014.

8 Wilsdon, Christina. Ultimate Body-pedia : An Amazing Inside-out Tour of the Human Body. Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, 2014.

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