You Are Only 10% Human

So you think you're human? Of course you're a human person, but there's a whole lot more going on in and on your body than just the things that are human cells. (Sorry, no, we're not talking about aliens.) Right at this moment, you're actually lugging around more bacterial cells than human ones. In the average adult man, more than two kilograms of body weight are made up of microorganisms. The human cells in every body are outnumbered 10 to one by microorganisms like eyelash mites. According to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho, all the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug. That image might make you squirm, but don't freak out—you need these tiny little buddies to keep you alive and well. According to Scientific American, "Intestinal bacteria also appear to keep our immune systems healthy. Several studies suggest that microbes regulate the population and density of intestinal immune cells by aiding in the development of gut-associated lymphoid tissues that mediate a variety of immune functions. The bacteria also appear to influence the function of immune cells like dendritic cells, T cells and B cells." Thanks, bacteria!

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The microbes on and inside your body outnumber your human cells 10 to 1. 00:42

  2. A healthy human body is home to around 10,000 different microbial species. 01:22

  3. On a given day, you could lose nearly 1 million skin cells, 100 hairs, and several liters of sweat. 02:12

Written By Curiosity Staff June 1, 2015