Biology facts that will make you understand your body and other living things. Learn more about the anatomy, processes, and systems that keep us alive through these facts.
- Biology is the study of life and living organisms.
- The cell is the basic unit of life.
- Biology recognizes human genes as the basic unit of heredity.
- Evolution is the driving force of creation and extinction of species.
- Biology is a natural science that explains natural phenomena as well as describing or predicting.
- There are 3 major branches of biology—botany, zoology, and microbiology.
- Botany is the scientific study of plants.
- Zoology is the scientific study of the behavior, structure, physiology, and classification of animals.
- Microbiology is another branch of science that tackles microorganisms. In other words, it is the study of microorganisms.
- Anatomy is another branch of biology. In particular, it analyzes the organism’s structure and parts.
- Anatomy is related to things such as developmental biology, evolutionary biology, comparative anatomy, embryology, and phylogeny.
- Theoretical biology uses a mathematical formula.
- Experimental biology conducts empirical experiments to examine the validity of the proposed theories.
- Physiology is the study of how organs and organ systems function.
- Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other to their environment.
- Cytology is the study of cells.
- Evolutionary biology is the study of evolutionary processes.
- Taxonomy is responsible for naming and classifying organisms.
- Genetics is the study of heredity and its variation.
- Molecular biology is the study of biological molecules such as DNA.
Biotechnology intervenes in the organisms to solve problems.
In contrast to molecular biology, biotechnology intervenes in organisms to solve problems, especially to the genes or DNA to produce favorable results. In particular, it exploits the biological processes for industrial and other important objectives, primarily the genetic utilization of microorganisms to produce antibiotics, hormones, etc.
Paleontology is the study of fossils.
Paleontology is the study of fossils. In other words, it is the scientific study of life that existed before, or sometimes, even during its lifetime. Furthermore, as early as the 5th century BC, paleontological observations have been documented already. Thus, the term itself comes from the Greek word, Palaios, which means “old” or “ancient”.
Paleontology sits in between biology and geology.
Biology is the study of life, while geology is the study of solid features. And paleontology sits in between the border of biology and geology. Furthermore, geology also explains the structure of the earth’s surface and the processes that have shaped that structure. Above all, it determines the relative or exact ages of rocks that are found in a certain location, as well as their history.
The term Biology came from Ancient Greek.
The term Biology came from the Ancient Greek word “Bíos” which means “Life”. Meanwhile, “Logía” means “branch of study” or “to speak”. Hence, “Biología” is the combined word of “Biology” which is used today. However, the complete word “Biología” or “βιολογία” can’t be found in Ancient Greek. Thus, the French and English adapted it accordingly.
Modern biology is relatively young.
Although modern biology just recently developed and became advanced, the “old science” has been using it since ancient times in different places such as ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indian subcontinent, and ancient China.
Natural philosophy is one of the “origin” of modern science.
The ancient civilizations of ancient China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent studied what they call “natural philosophy”. In particular, natural philosophy is the philosophical study of nature to the universe (the study of general questions about reason, existence, knowledge, values, language, and mind). Hence, it is the main source of knowledge before modern science came into the picture.
Scholars of the medieval Islamic world specialized in studying medicine.
The Scholars of the medieval Islamic world (the period of cultural, economic, and scientific advancement in the history of Islam) specialized in studying medicine through the Greek philosopher traditions. Accordingly, Al-Jahiz, Al-Dīnawarī, and Rhazes are its famous Scholars.
The microscope played a fundamental role in biology.
The invention of the microscope became the game-changer of biology. Since the microscope can see objects that are too small to be seen by the naked eye, the discovery of bacteria, infusoria and spermatozoa were immediately exposed to scholars, scientists, and researchers.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is the “Father of Microbiology”.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch businessman and scientist in the Golden Age of Dutch science and technology, is a self-taught man of science. Accordingly, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is one of the pioneers in microscopy and contributed to the establishment of microbiology. He became the “Father of Microbiology” and was the first person to see a live cell using the microscope.
Zacharias Janssen takes credit for the invention of the microscope.
Although there is no official inventor of the microscope, historians credited the invention to Zacharias Janssen. He is from Hague, Netherlands and aside from inventing the microscope, he is associated with the invention of the first optical telescope.
Carl Linnaeus published the basic taxonomy.
In the year 1735, Carl Linnaeus published the basic taxonomy for the natural world which helped many scholars. Accordingly, taxonomy is important because it categorizes organisms. It makes it easier to communicate biological information as well as classifying them. Moreover, Carl Linnaeus is not just an expert in taxology but also botany and zoology.
People who study biology are called biologists.
Some of the most famous biologists are Charles Darwin, Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Joseph Priestley.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution marked the start of the discussion on natural selection.
Charles Darwin is famous for his “Theory of Evolution”. As a biologist, Charles Darwin created the idea that “all species of life” came from a single source. Furthermore, Darwin’s theory of evolution marked the start of the discussion on natural selection. Charles Darwin is born in Shrewsbury, the United Kingdom on February 12, 1809.
Aristotle is considered to be the first biologist.
Aristotle was born in Stagira, Chalcide in Macedonia (known as northern Greece today) in 384 BC. He distinguished living things such as calling them animals, plants, etc and he classified them with blood, without blood, and the lists go on. Aristotle is considered to be the first biologist in the Western tradition.
Hippocrates is the “Father of Western Medicine”.
Born in Ancient Greece in 460 BC, Hippocrates became the “Father of Western Medicine”. Hippocrates is the first person to explain various diseases to natural causes rather than the logic of superstition that sickness is caused by gods. Furthermore, He described many diseases as well as their treatment after a detailed observation.
Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen.
Since biology refers to the study life, the discovery of oxygen is a vital part of it as well. Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen by experimenting with colorless gas by heating red mercuric oxide.
Joseph Priestley set up an experiment to test if plants can produce oxygen. When he put a burning candle in a closed container, all the oxygen in the container quickly extinguished the candle’s flame. He put the plant and relit the candle again, this time the flame continued burning. This showed that plants produce a gas that allows fuels to burn, and this gas is oxygen.
Not all bacterias are bad.
Different bacteria can make a person sick such as Salmonella, Escherichia Coli or E Coli, Shigella, etc. Although many bacteria can cause sickness, other bacteria have positive effects on the human body. For instance, some foods like yogurt have probiotics that may help prevent digestive problems. Thus, probiotics are often called “good” bacteria since they help the body system to stay healthy.
The common cold is a type of virus.
The common cold is a type of virus or viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract. The virus affects the nose, sinus, and/or the throat that eventually leads to coughing, sore throat, runny nose, headache, and fever. Although rhinovirus is the most common virus, there are over 200 viruses that can cause a common cold.
Molds, yeasts, and mushrooms are types of fungus.
Molds, yeasts, as well as tasty mushrooms are types of fungus (a member of the group of eukaryotic organisms). Indeed, the mushrooms do not belong in the plant or animal kingdom but rather placed in the kingdom of their own.
There are 5 kingdom classifications.
In the year 1969, it was proposed that fungi should be in a separate kingdom as a part of a new five-kingdom system of classification. The 5 kingdoms are; Kingdom Animalia (animals), Kingdom Plantae (plants), Kingdom Fungi, Kingdom Protista (algae, amoebas, euglena, etc.), and Kingdom Monera (bacteria).
The foundation of biology starts with the cell.
The foundation of biology starts with the cell and the life within it. All of the living things have at least one cell or more. Moreover, cells are the central unit of structure in all organisms and also the basic unit of reproduction. Without it, the reproduction of life is impossible.
Bacteria are extremely small and are made up of just one cell.
In contrast to other organisms, bacteria are very simple because it is only made up of one cell. The cell inside the bacteria is extremely small and less complex compare to the other cell types out there.
The adult body has an average of 7,000 white blood cells.
Aside from the red blood cells of the human body, it also contains white blood cells. The white blood cell is way fewer compared to the red blood cells. In particular, the adult body has around 7,000 white blood cells on average. The white blood cells are very important to the body because are a part of the immune system which fights against infection.
There are six main types of white blood cells.
The six types of white blood cells are; neutrophils which make up 58% of our blood, monocytes, and lymphocytes that make up 4% of our blood each, bands make up 3% of our blood, eosinophils make up 2% of our blood, and finally, basophils make up 1% of our blood.
The formation of white blood cells starts in the bone marrow.
Most white blood cells are developed in the bone marrow. The neutrophil, eosinophil, and basophil are classified as granulocytes that contain digestive enzymes.
As soon as the granulocyte is released into human blood, it remains for an average of 6 hours. Finally, it goes into the tissues of the body, where it can last up to 20 days. However, the lifespan of the white blood cells is reduced drastically if there is an infection in the body.
Living things can be classified into three categories.
Living things that eat plants as their primary food source are classified as “Herbivores”. Those that eat meat as their primary food source are classified as “Carnivore”. And lastly, living things that consume both plants and meat are classified as “Omnivore”
Future generations may never see a live tiger anymore.
Several species of animals and plants are dangerously at risk of extinction. Without human intervention or protection, future generations may only see these living things in books and computers.
Animals that are at serious risks are; sea turtles, tigers, rhinos, pangolins, and gorillas. On the other hand, plants that are on the verge of extinction are; Arizona agave, Stenogyne Kanehoana, Wiggin’s Acalypha, Georgia Aster, and the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid.
Biotechnology contains an extensive range of methods for modifying living organisms.
Genetically modified animals are animals that have been modified using biotechnology. “Biotechnology” or “Biotech” contains an extensive range of methods for modifying living organisms according to human purposes, such as the domestication of animals, cultivation of the plants for its improvement through breeding programs that apply artificial selection and hybridization (hybrid).
Dolly the sheep is the first cloned mammal using an adult cell.
On July 5, 1996, Dolly the sheep was born to her Scottish Blackface surrogate mother. Dolly got her name after the country singer Dolly Parton, because Dolly’s DNA came from a mammary gland cell.
Megan and Morag is the first cloned mammal using an embryo cell.
Dolly the sheep may be known to be the first mammal to be cloned using an adult cell. However, Megan and Morag (two sheep from Cambridge, UK) were the first sheep to be cloned in history using embryo cells in 1984.
Dolly the sheep had a normal and happy life.
Dolly led a normal life, spending it at The Roslin Institute along with several media appearances. She had 6 lambs with a Welsh Mountain ram named “David”. In general, Dolly had a happy life until February 2003, when she developed a cough. Upon her check-up, the CT scan showed tumors growing in her lungs. In order to avoid the suffering of Dolly, euthanization became the solution.
Louis Pasteur invented the Pasteurization.
Louis Pasteur, a French biologist, microbiologist, and chemist, invented Pasteurization to stop various foods and liquids making people sick. Accordingly, Pasteurization reduces the number of microorganisms that may lead to sickness without affecting quality or taste in contrast to sterilization.
Pasteurization limits the number of organisms, while sterilization kills or living organisms.
Pasteurization is the process of heating liquids to a particular temperature to slow microbial growth in food. On the other hand, sterilization is the process of eliminating all forms of bacteria from any product.
Hence, pasteurization does not kill all the organisms that are existing in the food, rather only reduces its number. While sterilization kills all living organisms in the food.
The human body has 7 octillion atoms.
The atom is the smallest particle of a chemical element that can retain its chemical properties. Atoms are much smaller than the cell, and an adult is made up of around 7 octillion atoms. The actual figures of 7 octillion have 27 zeros and it looks like this – 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
Atoms in the human body are more than a billion-year-old.
All the atoms in the human body are more than a billion-year-old. Hydrogen (the most abundant element in the universe) is one of the major features of the human body, which came from the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago.
The human body has 12 systems.
They are; digestive system, cardiovascular system, immune system, nervous system, respiratory system, reproductive system, skeletal system, muscular system, urinary system, integumentary system, lymphatic system, and endocrine system.
There are 4 types of blood groups.
There are 4 types of blood groups and those are A, B, O, and AB. In order of majority, the different blood groups are; O+ (38%), A+ (34%), B+ (9%), O- (7%), A- (6%), AB+ (3%), B- (2%), and AB- (1%).
The O- blood types are universal donors while AB+ are universal recipients.
The human body can handle blood without the presence of an antigen, a foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, but it can’t handle the introduction of a new antigen into the circulatory system. People with O- blood are known as universal donors and anyone can use it. In contrast, People with AB+ blood are universal recipients and they have every antigen in their blood already which means, the AB+ blood is compatible with any other blood type.
The human DNA is stored in 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Chromosomes are threadlike structures of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells. Accordingly, all the cells have a full set of chromosomes that contain all the genetic material needed to determine the makeup of our entire human bodies. And that is the main reason why animal cloning can be done with just a single cell.
Research suggests that the appendix serves a purpose.
In contrast to the belief of many that the appendix is just part of the evolution and serves no purpose, the latest research suggests that the appendix serves as an important place for the bacteria in the digestive system to rest and reproduce. However, it is true that humans can live normally even without an appendix.
There is no 100% definite answer to why people or even some other animals yawn.
Yawning is an involuntary action of opening the mouth and breathing in deeply, filling the lungs with air. Scientists believe that yawning is a way to keep our brains alert in times of stress, while others believe that it is a result of tiredness, and it is the way of “recovering”. However, there is no 100% definite answer to why people or even some other animals yawn.
Yawning is contagious as well. For instance, if a person sees another person yawning, the person who saw it has a good chance of yawning too. (You’ve probably been yawning already just by reading this).
The human brain works harder during sleeping.
In contrast to the belief of many, the human brain is not “relaxing” while sleeping. Instead, it works harder while sleeping compared to during the daytime when humans are awake.
The brain process different things that a person thought as well as the emotions felt during active hours and storing them in the memory. Even more, the brain is responsible for breathing during sleeping hours. The interruption of breathing while sleeping may indicate a problem in the brain’s signaling. The brain may momentarily “forget” to command the muscles to breathe.
The liver has over 500 functions.
Aside from just filtering the toxins from the blood, it also creates bile that breaks down fat and carries away waste, producing cholesterol, regulating blood clotting, processing hemoglobin, just to name a few.
Too much sun exposure can do long-term damage to the blood vessels in the skin.
Too much sun exposure may not just cause sunburn but also do long-term damage to the blood vessels in the skin. Accordingly, it will take more than 4 to 12 months for the capillaries and small arteries and as well as the veins to return to a normal condition and regenerate after extreme sun exposure.
Almost all of the body parts can repair themselves.
Except for the teeth, all of the body parts of the human can repair or regenerate by themselves. Hence, inborn human biology allows any body part to repair naturally including some other severe damages. However, since the teeth do not have living tissue, it is impossible for the teeth to repair themselves.
The human’s little finger provides over 50% of the hand’s strength.
Don’t underestimate your little fingers. Researches show that a human’s little finger provides over 50% of the hand’s strength, and losing the little finger is really detrimental.
The orbicularis oculi and levator palpebrae superioris muscle are the fastest muscles in the human body.
The main muscles in the eyelid that control the opening and closing as well as blinking are the orbicularis oculi and levator palpebrae superioris muscle. These muscles are the fastest muscles in the human body as they can contract in less than one-hundredth of a second. In general, a person blinks around 12 thousand times per day.
A human has around 150,000 hairs in the head.
A newborn baby has around 100,000 hairs on his or her head. As the person grows, it can reach up to 150,000 depending on his or her genes. Every day, each person can lose up to 125 hairs naturally and roughly grow the same number of hair each day (more or less). Furthermore, the hair grows around 6 inches per year, while the male’s hair grows much faster compared to the female.
The human brain has around “4 terabytes of memory space”.
To illustrate, 4TB is equivalent to around 1 million songs of storage. Even more, according to some neuroscientists, a genius mind can even hold up to 100 terabytes. However, neuroscientists believe that a person only uses around 10 percent of their brain’s capacity or storage.
The human eye is 576 megapixels.
Our eyes can identify as many as 10 million colors and our nose can identify 50000 scents. That’s cool, isn’t it?