Here are 6 amazing facts you may not know about those tiny humans.
Fully-grown humans are fantastic achievements of biological evolution in their own right. But when it comes to babies, those minuscule humans may be even more remarkable.
Although they may wail and cry and may go to the bathroom all over themselves, babies are rather unique feats of physiology.
Here are 6 fascinating facts you may not know about human babies.
Fact #1: Babies have 64 more bones than a fully-grown human adult.
The skeleton provides the rigid framework within our body that our tissues and organs grow around. The normal human adult has 206 bones throughout their body when fully-grown. But a baby is born with 270 bones!
What’s the deal here?
Let’s think of this in terms of size. When a baby is born, they are rather large and need to fit through a pretty small birthing canal. To fit through the birth canal, their bodies need to be soft and flexible.
It is for this reason that babies’ bones are not fully developed at birth. And most of their bones actually more closely resemble cartilage.
A well-known example of this is the “soft spot” on a baby’s head. This “spot” not only allows for easier passage through the birth canal but also allows for expansion of the skull. This is essential for the rapid brain development seen in newborns.
Fact #2: Babies can hear what’s going on in the outside world from inside the womb.
Although babies may be encased within the womb and surrounded by fluid, they have an acute sense of hearing.
Babies are able to hear the heartbeat and digestive mechanisms of the mother. They are also able to distinguish between noises from the outside world.
Sound if a slamming door can startle a baby, and the sound of a familiar voice can soothe them.
Fact #3: Babies are covered in hair inside the womb…and they eat it.
As a result of normal fetal development, babies’ bodies are covered in hair inside the womb at around 33 weeks. These fine hairs are known as lanugo and are usually shed inside the womb.
Because a baby’s environment inside the womb is so isolated, babies tend to eat this hair, digest it, and turn it into poop.
Fact #4: Babies prefer the tone of the female voice.
Although you may have already expected this, it’s actually a documented scientific phenomenon known as “motherese”.
If you are a male (or female), do you ever find yourself speaking to a baby in a high-pitched and exaggerated soothing tone that we sometimes use with pets?
Studies show that we subconsciously choose to speak like this because it aids in infant development, language acquisition, as well as allowing us to more easily gain an infant’s attention.
Fact #5: Babies cry incessantly, but don’t actually produce tears.
Are babies simply seasoned actors who are adept at manipulating us to do what they want by “fake-crying”? Ever notice that when a baby cries they don’t actually produce any tears?
Turns out that your baby isn’t striving for the next Academy Award, and simply have undeveloped tear ducts.
A newborn baby’s tear ducts don’t fully develop for several months after birth and produce just enough moisture to keep the eyeballs lubricated.
Fact #6: Babies don’t remember anything for their first few years of life.
Do you remember peeing all over your parents when they tried changing you or spending endless hours in your favourite “jolly-jumper”?
You probably don’t, and this is due to a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia.
Most researchers agree that adults cannot retrieve infantile memories accurately. Although they do disagree on the age range that this phenomenon occurs (most studies place this between 6 months-8 years).
Regardless of range, infantile amnesia is a result of an underdeveloped infant brain that is unable to encode and store memories in an accurate and efficient way.
There you have it. 6 amazing facts about our miniature human counterparts.