Fascinating Animals

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Archive for the category “Human Biology”

Muscles & Muscle Strain

Last Tuesday I had to walk down 12 flights of stairs in a high-rise office building because the Lifts suddenly went out of order.  Well, I had to “pay” for that later, in terms of my leg muscles being very sore for two to three days afterward.  I was not happy.  I work on 2 floors having to go upstairs and downstairs (or use the Lift if it is working) many times a day and a week.

After this temporary muscle strain, whenever I went downstairs, my calf muscle in one leg or the other or the muscles in my upper legs on the front hurt.  Apparently, walking down the stairs causes more strain on the calf muscles, than does walking up the stairs, because it requires more force to control the muscles in a downward movement, than going upward when the momentum of your whole body helps exert the force for your muscles to help propel your legs!

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Dental care for Humans – Part One

Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, the maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures, and their impact on the human body.

Human beings are the species Homo sapiens, and they belong to the Animal Kingdom.  They are definitely not Plants, are they?   Therefore, Homo sapiens appear in this blog.  Following up on Part 2 of Bits and Bites about the structure and function of human teeth, this post is about dental care for human beings.  Dental care for your animal companions is in the form of your dog and/or cat cleaning their own teeth through chewing and using their own protective saliva, and is achieved through you the “owner” taking your animal friend to the vet if she/he (the cat or dog) needs dental treatment.  Non-human animals don’t use toothbrushes and neither do they eat sugary food or many carbohydrates, which can cause tooth decay to humans if human beings eat such and don’t exercise basic daily care of their teeth.

bucky beaver iPana
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Dental care for human beings – Part Two



No, I am not talking about the crown that a king or a queen puts on his/her head, but about dental crowns!  A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth, to cover the tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, and improve its appearance. The dental crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

A dental crown can be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth, to restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down, to cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left, or to hold a dental bridge (crowns on teeth on either side of a gap) in place.

Crown or Filling??  A dental crown will cost substantially more than a filling. A filling will take just one visit to complete while a dental crown will require two visits to the dentist. Dentists recommend dental crowns for teeth that have sustained a significant amount of damage, and your dentist will be the best person to answer the question whether your damaged tooth needs a crown or a filling.

Hopefully, you will never need a dental crown, if you look after your teeth well.

More information can be read about dental crowns at this page   here.   You need to go twice to the dentist because on the first visit, your dentist will use a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown.  Then, the Crown needs to be made, and on your second visit, the crown will be affixed regally to your poor tooth.

Root Canal

The often dreaded and seen to be tortuous Root canal treatment is used to save a tooth which would otherwise need to be removed.  It is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury.

The term “Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity (pulp) within the center of the tooth.  A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.

This treatment requires two or three visits, at least two.  On the first visit, your dentist will access the root canal via a hole drilled into the tooth and will clean, medicate and seal the root canal (pulp cavity).  On the second visit, a polymer substance called gutta percha will be piped into the root canal and a composite filling added to close the access hole or gap in the tooth’s enamel covering.

Furthermore, the dentist will probably recommend that you get a Crown put over the tooth because the removal of the pulp will mean limited blood supply to the tooth dentin, thus weakening the tooth.  Adding a dental crown will give more rigorous protection, and of course will mean another visit to the dentist.

Root Canal

You can read more about the procedure for a Root Canal at this link   here  from which the picture above is taken from.

At the time of posting this, it can cost $950 or more in Australia for one root canal treatment, so it is wisest to do your very best to avoid having to get a Root Canal treatment – in order to avoid the multiple visits, the large cost involved, and of course to avoid the pain and discomfort, that having a tooth problem bad enough for a root canal, brings.

 Orthodontics and Braces

Orthodontics is a type of dental treatment that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth.  One example of orthodontic treatment is the use of braces, which are a device used to gradually reposition crooked teeth to a more favorable alignment.

Skeletal System – Skeletons, Joints & Bones – part one

human skeleton

Click on the “thumbnail” picture above to view it in larger size

Did you know there are 206 bones in the average human being?  Bones support and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals.  Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue. Bones have a complex internal and external structure making them lightweight, yet strong and hard.

The cranium or skull and some other groups of bones contain a number of duplicate bones.  You can find the numbers of each type of bone in the human body by scrolling down the following linked page. For example there are 26 individual vertebrae bones in the human being, and there are 24 ribs (or 12 pairs).   Ossicle bones are the bones of the ear.  The hyoid bone is the one and only bone of the throat.  It is a horseshoe-shaped bone that serves as an anchoring structure for the tongue.  The clavicle is called the collar-bone, and the scapula called the shoulder-blade.


The skeleton is an animal’s internal support frame. This bony structure helps to protect the organs and aids in movement. Some animals, including human beings, have an internal skeleton called an endoskeleton. Other animals have a skeleton on the outside of their body called an exoskeleton.

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Skeletal System – Skeletons, Joints & Bones – part two



A joint is the point where two or more bones meet. There are three main types of joints – Fibrous (immoveable & held together by a ligament), cartilaginous (partly moveable, held together by cartilage) and the Synovial (freely moveable) joint. Synovial joints consist of a synovial capsule (collagenous structure) surrounding the entire joint, a synovial membrane (the inner layer of the capsule) which secretes synovial fluid (a lubricating liquid) and cartilage known as hyaline cartilage (a flexible connective tissue) which pads the ends of the articulating bones.  An example of a Fibrous joint is where the teeth are attached to their bony sockets. The vertebrae have cartilaginous joints between them.

Examples of Synovial Joints follow.

A hinge joint allows movement in a certain spot to take place. This joint is similar to the opening and closing of a door. Some examples of hinge joints are the elbow, knee, ankle and joints between the fingers. Hinge joints allow the body parts to bend and straighten.

Ball and socket joints allow twisting and turning movements. In a ball and socket joint, one of the bones has a rounded head which is the ball. The other bone has a cup-like area that is known as the socket. Some of these joints are the shoulder and the hip. The shoulder joint is the most flexible joint in the entire body. It allows movement in any direction.

There are other types of joints in the body. Gliding joints allow two flat bones to slide over each other like in the bones of the foot and wrist. A condyloid joint allows the head to nod and the fingers to bend. The thumbs have a saddle joint that allows enough flexibility for the thumb to touch any other finger.

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Cell Biology – Cells, Tissues, Organs & Systems

animal cell

animal cell

Animal cell diagram. From the textbook Human Biology

(Daniel Chiras, published Jones and Bartlett, 2002)

Living organisms can be divided into Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes.



You can click  here  to see good diagrams showing Prokaryotic & Eukaryotic Cell differences.

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