We all have parts of the body we deem absolutely necessary and whose functions we are well aware of such as the lungs, stomach, heart and brain, among others. But we are also familiar with some whose relevance and functions are not clear to us. It turns out they are key as well, as Evelyn Makena outlines
You probably do not even remember that you have them until there is a disturbing pain on your throat owing to inflamed tonsils. That is how easily forgettable tonsils are, but useful nonetheless.
The spongy, almond shaped tissue at the back of the mouth plays an important role in the body’s immune system. Tonsils, which are part of the lymphatic system defend the body from infections that come through the mouth and nose. When overloaded with viruses and bacteria, tonsils become affected.
Rarely does anyone pay attention to the little tissue hanging in the back of the throat over the tongue. The uvula prevents food from entering the nose cavity by closing the nasal passages when one swallows.
It also produces large amounts of saliva that keep the throat lubricated. If swollen, it causes obstruction of a person’s airways at the back of the mouth resulting to snoring. The uvula is important in promoting speech and is, especially useful in producing sounds in French and Arabic.
3. Men’s nipples
It’s common knowledge that the real purpose of nipples in women is to enable them feed babies. But why do men also have nipples? According to science, men’s nipples are a as a result of genetic activity during the early days of formation in the womb.
For the first two months, all embryos in the womb start to develop as female . Later on when the Y chromosome kicks in, the foetus becomes male. Having nipples is just one of the female characteristics that remain. However, the nipple, in fact, contains a dense supply of nerves that function as a major stimulatory organ in both men and women.
Apart from being considered a sign of beauty, especially among women, fingernails help distinguish human beings from other mammals. While most mammals have claws, humans have the flattened version.
Just like the claws in mammals are meant to grasp food and scale branches, nails in humans are used to grasp items and perform functions such as scratching. Fingernails also act as yardsticks of our health. Signs such as discolouration of nails signal health problems such as malnutrition.
5. Eyelid hole
You may have noticed a little hole at the bottom of your eyelid. Chances are that, you thought of it as a defect. But that tiny hole at the inner corner of the eye leads to lacrimal duct responsible for draining tears from the eyes to the nose.
That explains why you experience a runny nose when your eyes are teary. The little hole varies in size from one person thus is easy to notice in some people than in others.
6. Goose bumps muscles
Ever wondered why you get goose bumps? You have tiny muscles around the hair follicles, which contract when you’re scared. The function would make other animals’ fur stand up, but because human body hair isn’t thick, you can still see the bumps.
Although small and seemingly inconsequential, cuticles protect the nail and surrounding tissues from infections. A layer of hard skin found where the nail and finger meet, cuticles prevent dirt and bacteria from entering the body. They provide a protective cover to tissues that grow cells for new nails.
Estimated to be about 4.5 centimetres in neonates and 9.5 centimetres in adults, the appendix, which is found in the large intestines, is considered to have little use to the human body. If anything, the appendix is more of a risk to the body.
In case of an inflammation, the appendix can burst and spill its dangerous content to the rest of the body. When removed, the appendix causes no noticeable change in the body. Recent research, however, suggests that the appendix hosts good bacteria that replenish the digestive system after bouts of diarrhoea.
9. Armpit hair
The unwritten rule of grooming is that armpit hair should be completely shaved off. No wonder hair removal products are readily available in supermarkets and services such as waxing are common in salons and spas nowadays.
But this often unsightly hair is meant to play a crucial role in finding you a mate. Armpit hair, which grows above sweat glands responsible for producing your unique and natural body smell helps diffuse that scent and help spread it to attract a potential mate.
10. Wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, which develop between the ages 17 and 25, a period when young adults become wiser, hence the name. The teeth are believed to have been crucial in helping the early man, chew tough food such as nuts, meat and roots.
Owing to evolution, the wisdom teeth have long lost their significance and instead become an inconvenience. Due to a shrinking jaw size, fully grown wisdom teeth are often the cause of gum disease, cysts or damaging the nearby teeth. It’s a common practice the world over to have wisdom teeth removed due to their inconveniencing nature.