10 Fascinating Fun Facts About the Human Body

The human body and its peculiarities are endlessly fascinating! Here are some tidbits about your kiddo’s bod. How many of these did you know?

1) The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm. While you can’t see skin cells or muscle cells, the ovum is large enough to be seen with the naked eye. The sperm cell, on the other hand, is tiny, consisting of little more than a nucleus.2) Babies are always born with blue eyes. The color of your eyes depends on the genes you get from your parents, but at birth most babies appear to have blue eyes. The reason is the pigment melanin that provides the brown color. The melanin often needs time after birth to be fully deposited, later revealing the baby’s true eye color. The permanent eye color will be obvious by a year old.

3) Eyes remain the same size from birth but your nose and ears never stop growing. When babies look up at you with those big eyes, they’re the same size that they’ll be carrying around for the rest of their lives. Their ears and nose, however, will grow throughout their lives. Have you ever noticed older people’s noses and ears? Big.

4) The three things pregnant women dream of most during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted plants. Pregnancy hormones can cause mood swings, cravings and many other unexpected changes. Oddly enough, hormones can also affect the dreams women have. The most common are these three types, but many women also dream of water, giving birth or even have violent or sexually charged dreams.

5) Just before birth, babies’ brains are at their maximum size. All the raw material is there, and the next 20+ years will be spent building pathways, making neural connections, and paring away unneeded cells. Brain size (and head size) can’t be any larger, or babies wouldn’t be able to exit through the birth canal.

6) A fetus acquires fingerprints at three months gestation. When only a small fraction of the way through development, a fetus has already developed one of the most unique human traits: fingerprints. At only 12 weeks the whorls of what will be fingerprints have already developed. Oddly enough, those fingerprints will not change throughout the person’s life and will be one of the last things to disappear after death.

7) One of every 2,000 newborns is born with a tooth. Nursing mothers may cringe at this fact, but they’re called natal teeth. Sometimes it is a regular baby tooth that has already erupted and sometimes it is an extra tooth that will fall out before the other set of choppers comes in.

8) Everyone has a unique smell, except for identical twins. Newborns are able to recognize the smell of their mothers and many of us can pinpoint the smell of our significant others and our children. Part of that smell is determined by genetics, but it’s also affected by environment, diet and personal hygiene, creating a unique chemistry for each person. Identical twins share the same scent.

9) A baby’s head is one-quarter of it’s total length, but by age 25 will only be one-eighth of its total length. As it turns out, our adorably oversized baby heads won’t change size as dramatically as the rest of our bodies. The legs, arms and torso will lengthen, but the head won’t get much longer (see #5 above).

10) It is not possible to tickle yourself. Even the most ticklish among us do not have the ability to tickle themselves. The reason is that your brain predicts the tickle from information it has, like how your fingers are moving. Because it knows the tickle is coming, your brain doesn’t respond in the same way as it would if someone else was doing the tickling.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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