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10 Body Features Whose Real Purpose Is Finally Coming to Light

Your body is a wonderland. Just take a look in the mirror and you’ll find something on you that you probably don’t even know the purpose for. Like the body hair that you shave every time it grows, for example. Turns out, this hair can help attract potential mates for you. These body features exist for a reason and their purposes might surprise you.

Bright Side is taking a closer look at our seemingly useless body features to understand what they’re meant to do.

1. Mole

mole appears when the cells in the skin grow in a group instead of being spread throughout the skin. Usually, moles aren’t harmful, but sometimes it may be a sign that there are problems inside your body, such as cancer. Mole-mapping is a method that can be used to keep track of the changes in moles so that cancer can be caught early to save your life.

2. Armpit hair

Body hair’s major function is to release pheromones, the hormones that attract potential suitors, according to a study. This includes underarm hair, which helps to give off odors. Just like animals, different people have different odors that attract others to them. This is possibly why some people like to smell their partners’ dirty shirts.

3. Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are actually the third set of teeth to grow in your mouth. Back in the day, our ancestors needed these teeth to munch on tough foods like roots, leaves, meat, and nuts, especially when other teeth would fall out. So basically, they’re your backup teeth.

4. Eyebrows

Eyebrows grow outward, hence protecting your eyes from the moisture of rain and sweat so that you can maintain your sight. Since they can be moved to express emotions, they’re also an important tool for communication. A 2003 study also showed that eyebrows are crucial for you to recognize faces. People were only able to recognize famous faces 46% of the time when their eyebrows were removed.

5. Fingernails and toenails

Fingernails and toenails shield the fingertips and toe tips from getting injured. They help you to have a better grip on things and to cut certain items. Whenever you have an itch, they definitely come in handy. Not only that, nails can be a window to your health. If the color of your nails isn’t normal, doctors and paramedics can be alerted that there is something wrong.

6. Uvula

The uvula is that little teardrop-shaped tissue you see hanging in the back of your throat when you open your mouth wide. It only exists in humans and a study has shown that it allows us to drink while bending over and helps with speech.

7. Leg hair

Leg hair definitely seems like something you could do without. But a long time ago, our ancestors needed the hair to keep them warm, especially since pants weren’t yet created. When it’s cold, tiny muscles surrounding the hair follicle cause the hair to stand up and trap more heat near the body. It works as a natural blanket on your legs.

8. Appendix

The appendix is a small pouch near where the large and small intestines meet. Often believed to be a useless body part, it’s actually meant to protect good bacteria in the gut. If you have diarrhea, the good bacteria in the appendix will help to keep you healthy.

9. Freckles

Freckles or “angel kisses” occur because of genetics and exposure to the sun. They often appear on people with lighter skin, the same way some people get tan from being exposed to the sun. The reason for this is that your body is trying to protect itself from sun damage. It’s like a natural sunscreen against the sun’s UV rays.

10. Beard and mustache

Beards and mustaches are more than just facial hair that can define someone. In one study, it’s thought that beards and mustaches are a lot like a male lion’s mane. They might act as a kind of camouflage to protect you from attacks to the fragile parts of your jaw.

Which of these facts about your body parts makes you appreciate them more? Do you know any other purposes of the body that are thought to be useless?

Preview photo credit Alva / Wikimedia Commons