The human body is full of all kinds of quirks. It makes confusing sounds seemingly out of nowhere. It jerks and jolts right before falling asleep or as the temperature changes. It yawns merely by reading the word “yawn” or seeing someone else do it.
These reflexes and involuntary responses reveal how little control people have over the way their bodies function. Understanding why some of these bodily reactions occur can give clues about things the body may need at a moment in time. For example, an athlete might get a cramp on the side of their ribs on a long jog when they’re fatigued. The body is telling them to reduce the intensity of their physical activity.
Stacker compiled a list of 15 strange bodily reactions and looked at news articles, government reports, and scientific research to understand the biology behind these phenomena. Read on to learn the explanations for the peculiarities of the human body and get the answers to some reactions you may have always been curious about.
People get goosebumps when they’re chilly or experiencing extreme emotion, like shock or inspiration. This reaction is caused by the contraction of tiny muscles at the base of the hair follicles all over the body, which causes the hair to stand upright. This involuntary response may be nature’s way of helping animals’ bodies look larger and scarier in a threatening situation.
Hiccups are almost like a domino effect in the body. First, the diaphragm experiences a sudden and involuntary contraction. That causes the vocal cords to close, which then creates that “hic” yelping sound to come out of the throat. While hiccups can be a symptom of a medical disorder, they’re generally the result of overeating, getting excited, or drinking too many bubbly beverages.
Wrinkly fingers in water
A long bath or day at the pool can cause fingers and toes to get super wrinkly. Researchers initially thought this condition occurred when the fluids in the body shifted when surrounded by water. However, experts now suspect that the reaction may be the body’s way of improving the ability to grip objects when people are wet.