After skimming through Grade 1 Biology textbook, you will have learned more Latin than Biology. I mean, there are a million parts in the human body and e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g’s gotta name, and that too, a Latin one in most cases. Here are 8 vital body parts whose names you can’t guess even in the wildest of your dreams. Also, if someone just blurts these names in front of you, you wouldn’t even remotely associate them with what the terms are referring to, forget about their functions. You think I am exaggerating? Find out for yourself.
1. The Masseter (The Jaw Muscle)
The masseter, lit. The one who eats is the jaw muscle that aids in closing the jaw. This strongest bone in the body is present in mammals, and it helps in mastication (chewing). Interestingly, it can pull a substance that is 80 times its weight. And mind you, this is the strongest muscle in the entire human body in terms of weight. So, the Masseter is the one that eats, and all this while, I was putting on weight. So unfair!
2. Pollex (The Thumb)
Speaking of the anatomy of the hand, the thumb plays a major role as compared to the rest of the four digits. Not many of us know the fact that the thumb has a special name – pollex. The main function of your pollex is grasping. It provides the grip to grasp and hold different things. This ability is primarily due to the position of the thumb. This way of diametrically opposite arrangement facilitates opposition and apposition, both of which are essential for grasping.
3. Hallux (The Big Toe)
The great toe or the hallux (the term that I would never associate with the big toe) is used for everything you do with your foot. It provides the maximum anchorage and enables you to run, walk, and pedal. Also, this hallux is considered to be #1 when the digits in tetrapods (animals with four legs) are numbered. When this number one goes missing for reasons like physical trauma and the like, the remaining digits can take over the functions, but only after sufficient training and rehabilitation.
4. Femur (The Thigh Bone)
The femur is the longest bone of all the 206 bones in the human body. It is precisely located in between the hip and the knee. So, you can walk, run, and move your leg? Thank your femur for that. Paradoxically, it is a very light (with respect to weight) bone and hollow, but still is as hard and strong as concrete. No wonder it is a weight-bearing bone with the ability to tolerate up to 30 times the weight of a human body.
Glabella is that part situated in between your eyebrows. The skin and the underlying bone together are known as glabella. The primary function of this fancy sounding part is that it serves the purpose of a craniometric point. And by that, I mean, this point is used as a benchmark to measure the skull. Also, with the help of this part, you can check whether you are sufficiently hydrated or not. Pull the skin slightly and check if it is regaining its shape and is sufficiently elastic. If it goes back to its original shape, it means you are hydrated, and if it doesn’t, you are dehydrated. Plus, you can check how well your reflexes work. And for that, you need to tap twice or thrice on that point, and you will immediately have the urge to blink your eyes. Did you blink? I just did.
6. Frenum/ Frenulum
Frenum refers to a tissue in the body that keeps certain body parts in place, reducing their flexibility and movement. There’s an oral frenum, a penile frenum, one in the brain, in the vulva, etc. However, here, we are talking about the tissue or fold under the tongue that keeps the tongue fixed in its place. In some conditions, particularly in small children, the frenum makes it difficult for the tongue to move even slightly. This makes it difficult for them to eat and speak, and hence, the frenum is removed in such cases. Though there isn’t much difference after the frenum is removed, it still serves the purpose of holding the tongue in its place.
In Latin, the word ‘philtrum’ means love charm. So, this philtrum is that groovy depression you find in the middle region of the upper lip. Did you know that this had a name? It doesn’t stop with the name, it also has a function. Or should I say, had a function? In mammals, the philtrum essentially carries substances that have an odor from one part of the nose to the olfactory sense organs and that too, via the mouth. However, in humans, it is sadly vestigial. But, I think it still is a love charm, isn’t it?
8. Clavicle (The Collarbone)
The clavicle, which is popularly known as the collarbone, apart from its cosmetic value, also serves an important function. Multiple joints work together in the shoulder when you rotate your arms or move the shoulder. The clavicle is one of the most important bones that makes it possible for a broad range of shoulder motions to take place. It also provides stability when the shoulder succumbs to the impact of a load.
Do you know of some more fancy names for body parts? Tell me. Make use of the comments section!