Your anatomy operates like a machine, it's success hinging on the work of over 70 organs, each with a unique function. From the heart's blood pumping ability, to the liver's filtering power, each component of the human ecosystem forms an integral part of the larger machinery.
To break down our food, to regulate sugar, to ward off the toxins of the outside world, our bodies depend on organs to ensure survival. But, which organ is the biggest? How about the smallest? Can you live without some of your organs?
Take a deeper look inside your own anatomy with the answers to these questions, plus a few bonus facts about your bones and muscles, organs' helpful counterparts.
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What is the largest organ in the body?
The skin is the largest organ in the body. It is an external rather than an internal organ.
According to National Geographic, the average adult carries around 8 pounds and 22 square feet of skin on their body.
Is skin an organ?
Yes, the skin is an organ, the largest.
It can seem counterintuitive since many of our other organs are unseen. The skin, made up of three layers: the Epidermis, the Dermis and the Hypodermis, is an external organ. It serves as a very important barrier between the body and bacteria, chemicals, and temperature.
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Top 5 largest organs
Healthline reports that the top five largest organs in the human body are:
What to know about your liver
The liver is the body’s largest solid, internal organ. In the upper right part of your abdomen, the liver is your body's filtration system.
It filters toxins out of the blood and produces protein for blood plasma. The liver also produces bile, a product which helps to move waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion.
It is a dark brown/red and weighs in at approximately 3 pounds.
How many organs are there in the body?
To date, there are 79 generally recognized organs in the human body, both internal and external.
What is the strongest muscle in the human body?
This is not a question with a direct answer, as strength has many different measures.
Based on weight, the Library of Congress reports that the strongest muscle in the body is the Masseter. It is one of the four muscles responsible for chewing.
The largest muscle in the human body is the Gluteus Maximus. It is responsible for keeping your posture upright, and is the principal antigravity force working when you walk up stairs.
Other strong muscles include the tongue, heart, uterine muscles, external eye muscles, and Soleus (a muscle found just below the calf).
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What is the largest bone in the human body?
It is the longest and strongest bone in your body. The femur is your thigh bone, running from your knee to your hip. It’s a difficult bone to break, but if you do, you’ll likely need surgery.
Which is the smallest organ in the human body?
The pineal gland. It is an incredibly small endocrine gland found in the brain that regulates your circadian rhythm (sleep pattern) by releasing melatonin.
This ever so small organ is shaped like a tiny pinecone, hence the name “pine”-al gland.
How many blood types are there?
There are 8 blood types, made from four different blood groups – A, B, AB, and O. Your genetic makeup determines which blood group you will fall into.
Each of these letters or letter combos can be either RhD positive or negative, making the 8 total types:
What is the most common blood type?: Here's which of the eight is most (and least) common.
Why is an artery an organ?
It may spark some confusion that arteries, though a category unto themselves, can be organs as well. The arteries are a critical component of the cardiovascular system, pumping oxygenated blood to the rest of your body.
Artery is the specific term used for this type of blood vessel. Organ is a more broad term that is used to describe a group of tissues that structurally form a functioning, specialized unit of the human anatomy.
Since arteries are made up of tissue, and have a specialized function, they can be classified as organs.
What is the name of the cell type responsible for insulin production?
Beta-cells are responsible for the production of insulin, and then subsequently storing that insulin and secreting it when needed based on concentration levels of glucose and fatty acids in the body.
What organ can you live without?
The human body can feasibly operate without a number of different organs. According to Insider, that list includes:
Lungs (You can’t live without both lungs, but you can survive with just one.)
Some reproductive organs (People with uteruses sometimes have their uteruses or one or more ovaries removed. Testicles can also be removed.)
Of note, some of these organs can be removed without much modification while others require regular medical treatments or adjustments to make a healthy life in their absence feasible.
Just Curious?: Your everyday questions, answered.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is the largest organ in the body? Skin versus liver, explained.
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