Tag: anatomy

Awesome 5 Things Living On, In, And With You

Computer artwork of bacteria (blue and green) on human skin.

Your body isn’t just yours. It’s home to millions of other life-forms. Organisms too small to see with just your eyes, called microbes, outnumber your human cells ten to one.

But don’t worry—most of them are harmless or even helpful. But that doesn’t mean they’re not gross.




Eyelash Inmate

Tiny eight-legged mites spend their whole lives on your face, spending most of their time at the base of your eyelash hairs. But at night they scurry around on your face.

Belly Button Biodiversity

Most people have about 67 different species living harmlessly in their navels. One man hosted a type of bacteria found only in Japan—even though he’d never been there.

Gut Germs

At least 500 species of bacteria live in your large intestine. They help break down food and even create nutrients like vitamin K. Lunch really is a team effort.

Morning Breath Makers

Morning breath? Blame bacteria. While you sleep bacteria builds up in your mouth. These guys munch on leftover food between your teeth, then secrete a smelly compound.

Foot Fungus

Watch your step! These microbes attach to your feet in places like locker room showers. They can make your feet itchy and painful but are easy to get rid of.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

New Organ Discovered In Human Body After It Was Previously Missed By Scientists

Scientists have identified a new human organ hiding in plain sight, in a discovery they hope could help them understand the spread of cancer within the body.

Layers long thought to be dense, connective tissue are actually a series of fluid-filled compartments researchers have termed the “interstitium”.

These compartments are found beneath the skin, as well as lining the gut, lungs, blood vessels and muscles, and join together to form a network supported by a mesh of strong, flexible proteins.

New analysis published in the journal Scientific Reports is the first to identify these spaces collectively as a new organ and try to understand their function.




Remarkably, the interstitium had previously gone unnoticed despite being one of the largest organs in the human body.

The team behind the discovery suggest the compartments may act as “shock absorbers” that protect body tissues from damage.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center medics Dr David Carr-Locke and Dr Petros Benias came across the interstitium while investigating a patient’s bile duct, searching for signs of cancer.

They noticed cavities that did not match any previously known human anatomy, and approached New York University pathologist Dr Neil Theise to ask for his expertise.

The researchers realised traditional methods for examining body tissues had missed the interstitium because the “fixing” method for assembling medical microscope slides involves draining away fluid – therefore destroying the organ’s structure.

Instead of their true identity as bodywide, fluid-filled shock absorbers, the squashed cells had been overlooked and considered a simple layer of connective tissue.

Having arrived at this conclusion, the scientists realised this structure was found not only in the bile duct, but surrounding many crucial internal organs.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Fossil Holds New Insights Into How Fish Evolved Onto Land

The fossil of an early snake-like animal – called Lethiscus stocki – has kept its evolutionary secrets for the last 340-million years.

Now, an international team of researchers, led by the University of Calgary, has revealed new insights into the ancient Scottish fossil that dramatically challenge our understanding of the early evolution of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals with backbones.

Their findings have just been published in the research journal Nature.




It forces a radical rethink of what evolution was capable of among the first tetrapods,” said project lead Jason Anderson, a paleontologist and Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM).

Before this study, ancient tetrapods – the ancestors of humans and other modern-day vertebrates – were thought to have evolved very slowly from fish to animals with limbs.

We used to think that the fin-to-limb transition was a slow evolution to becoming gradually less fish like,” he said.

But Lethiscus shows immediate, and dramatic, evolutionary experimentation. The lineage shrunk in size, and lost limbs almost immediately after they first evolved. It’s like a snake on the outside but a fish on the inside.

Using micro-computer tomography (CT) scanners and advanced computing software, Anderson and study lead author Jason Pardo, a doctoral student supervised by Anderson, got a close look at the internal anatomy of the fossilized Lethiscus.

After reconstructing CT scans its entire skull was revealed, with extraordinary results.

The anatomy didn’t fit with our expectations,” explains Pardo.

Many body structures didn’t make sense in the context of amphibian or reptile anatomy.” But the anatomy did make sense when it was compared to early fish.

We could see the entirety of the skull. We could see where the brain was, the inner ear cavities. It was all extremely fish-like,” explains Pardo, outlining anatomy that’s common in fish but unknown in tetrapods except in the very first.

The anatomy of the paddlefish, a modern fish with many primitive features, became a model for certain aspects of Lethiscus’ anatomy.

When they included this new anatomical information into an analysis of its relationship to other animals, Lethiscus moved its position on the ‘family tree’, dropping into the earliest stages of the fin-to-limb transition.

It’s a very satisfying result, having them among other animals that lived at the same time,” says Anderson.

The results match better with the sequence of evolution implied by the geologic record.

Lethiscus also has broad impacts on evolutionary biology and people doing molecular clock reproductions of modern animals,” says Anderson.

They use fossils to calibrate the molecular clock. By removing Lethiscus from the immediate ancestry of modern tetrapods, it changes the calibration date used in those analyses.

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Pass it on: New Scientist