Dark matter, Stonehenge, the success of The Jersey Shore … the universe is full of things that elude a scientific explanation. So much so, that today on Healthversed, we’ve decided to narrow things down a touch. Over the next few pages, we’re going to be taking a look at a few unexplainable quirks, tendencies, and oddities for which science has no answer. We’re talking biology, psychology, behaviorism and more! It’s a water-cooler-convo gold mine. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore a few facts about humans that have scientists stumped. Let’s go!
Why We Yawn
We yawn when we’re bored, or tired … or when we see someone yawn on the bus … or when we think about yawning … and especially when we’re writing an article about yawning. All those little “…” marks… yeah. That’s us … yawning. It’s an involuntary reflex, like laughter. But it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose. Other than, you know … to let people know that their boardroom presentation is incredibly boring.
The Placebo Effect
This is one the most fascinating phenomena in modern medicine. It goes as follows. Tell someone that the magical pill in your hand will cure what ails them. Hand them a pill full of sugar. Watch as their symptoms magically disappear. Now, it doesn’t always work like that. But the fact that, in a lot of cases, it actually does is incredible. What’s even more fascinating? Scientists have absolutely no idea why.
Ah, the intricacies of the human body abound! Right-handed humans represent roughly 90% of the population. That other 10%, for whatever reason, are wired with a dominant left hand. What’s even stranger, right-handed individuals can still be left-footed, and vice versa. And don’t get us started on those ambidextrous super-humans. Our brain hurts just thinking about them.
Why We Need Sleep
We know that it’s important for us. Try completing a math test after 48 sleepless hours. It affects our metabolism, emotional stability, cognitive ability, and short and long term memory. What we don’t know is, well, anything else really. It may seem like sleep is our brain’s version of a lunch break. Which is what makes things so darn confusing. You see, your brain is actually incredibly active during periods of sleep. We know that we need it. The rest of the questions regarding sleep remain largely unanswered.
Why We Dream
Freud theorized that dreams were man’s link to the subconscious. That theory has been debunked, along with most of his other theories. Unfortunately his theory was never really replaced with another one. Some believe that dreams help us process emotions. We enjoy them because they can be awesomely weird fantasies, like letting you be a dinosaur riding super hero or getting stuck in Wal-Mart after hours without any consequences. But as it stands, little is known about this truly incredible phenomena.
Why Men Have Nipples
Fact: men have nipples. But it doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out. Their purpose, however, is an entirely different story. We all know that a woman’s nipples serve a crucial reproductive function: providing sustenance for newborns. As for men’s nipples, the mystery remains. We like to think that biologists of the future will discover a link between male nipples and telekinetic abilities. But then again, we read too many comic books.
Why We Have an Appendix
Who needs flying saucers and bigfoot when one of the world’s greatest mysteries is attached to our large intestine. Currently, your appendix serves absolutely no beneficial biological purpose. If anything, your appendix is a detriment to survival. Some suggest that your appendix is a vestigial organ left behind through evolution. Again, none of these theories are scientifically proven.
Our Inner Monologue
That voice telling you to stop reading this article and get back to work, as well as the other on reading these very words, remains largely a mystery. Some claim that your internal monologue is your soul. Understanding the why, what, and how remain far outside the grasp of modern biology. We can tell you one thing, though, that voice telling you to continue reading this article — listen to that voice.
Why We Blush
The “how” is relatively simple and easily explained. The redness in your cheek is caused by the opening of blood vessels beneath the skin. The increased flow of blood to your face causes a noticeable redness. We also have a pretty good understanding of the “when.” Blushing happens involuntarily and it’s associated with embarrassment, anger, and feelings of romance. Darwin believed that blushing was a tell to protect us from liars. Others believe that blushing is designed to diffuse confrontation. But those are just theories. In truth, nobody really knows why humans are designed to blush.
Why We Laugh
Hate to break it to you, but you won’t find “laughter” in any medical textbook. Frankly, if you’re looking for a scientific explanation for laughter, you won’t find very much at all. Laughter helps us connect. It floods our brain with endorphins. It’s a generally positive experience that we all share. But, as far as the scientific community is concerned, laughter remains a relative mystery. LOL.
Maintaining that sleek and sexy hairless look takes a lot of time, money, and sometimes a lot of pain, too. It would be fine if the body hair actually served an evolutionary purpose. Unfortunately, science hasn’t really discovered one just yet. What’s even stranger is that human body hair grows opposite to that of our closest animal relatives. Apes, for example, have less hair around their genitals, not more.
Different Blood Types
A positive, B-negative, O … as if medicine wasn’t complicated enough, without all of these confusing letter designations! Medicine knows that we have a variety of different blood types. Doctors understand the importance of type-O blood. What they don’t know is why we have different blood types to begin with! Some suggest that the development of alternate blood types was designed to fend off the spread of disease. A good theory, but still unproven.
Why Anesthesia Puts Us to Sleep
Here’s something we’ll file in the “unsettling” category. Remember that time you went to the dentist and they told you to count back from 100 and you woke up, hours later with the word 99 still cued up in your brain? Proof enough that anesthesia works. The scary thing is doctors have absolutely no idea why it works. They’ll need to spend a little more time in their hidden office down the hall if they’re ever going to put the pieces together.