Thursday, March 09, 2006 :::
There's been a rumor going around in my circle of friends that eyeballs do not grow over time. Rumor has it that you are born with the very same sized eyeballs that you die with. This rumor was met with some skepticism, so I googled it, and thought I would share my findings. From BooksBigQuestions:
Do eyeballs grow and, if so, how much?
At birth, the head and structures within it, such as the eyes and brain, are more developed in proportion to the rest of the body. The head and eyes increase in width by only 1.5 times up to the age of 5 years, and after that only a very small proportion more until early adulthood. So the eyes do grow slightly, probably only a matter of millimetres, and only up to age 5 or so.
So yes, eyeballs grow, albeit very slightly, and less so than most other organs. On the other hand, there is also a rumor that the cartilage in your nose NEVER stops growing, which if true explains Karl Malden, and makes me fear for my own future:
I'm hoping that rumor proves to be false.
And while we're talking about bones and stuff, I was reading (in that seemingly never ending science book that I mention far too often), that only about one bone in a billion becomes a fossil. This means that the 6 billion people currently on the planet with 206 bones each will only produce a couple thousand fossils max, which really doesn't seem like much. And they'll probably be hopelessly scattered. And they'll probably all be fingers or teeth or boring bones like that.
This kind pisses me off and shatters my illusions, because I used to worry about worldwide nuclear holocausts and extinction level events and all that end-of-the-human-race mumbo jumbo, and the only thing that would ease my mind was daydreaming of a probable future, millions of years from now, where space aliens or maybe even some other indigenously evolved lifeform would discover our bones, under all the earth and soil. And they'd be all, "holy crap, whoever these beasts were millions of years ago, they sure kicked ass," and they'd rebuild and study us in museums and then some future species' version of Steven Spielberg would make a blockbuster movie featuring computer generated humans and it would be a phenomenon that would spark numerous subpar sequels, and their version of children (assuming they procreate sexually) would wear pajamas and sleep on sheets emblazoned with tiny little humanoids in funny poses. And they would collect our fossilized droppings and use them as paperweights on desks (assuming they have paper and desks). But I don't know how this new super-evolved species is going to manage all of that with just a couple thousand measly bones. I guess that childhood scenario I baked up to soothe my overworked nerves wasn't so probable after all.
::: posted by dan at 10:44 PM :: [ link ] :: (23) comments
23 previous comments:
I'm honesty wondering if you're drunk?
By , at 12:14 AM
hey, don't worry, your scenario is still perfectly plausible. We've found lots and lots of bones already, right? think of the mummies, and that guy they found all frozen up in the alps, and the guy from the peat bog. and don't forget about the dinosaurs--i suppose that's where you got the pajamas idea, of course.
but, hmm, maybe there's all kinds of stuff we haven't found...i suppose us lowly humans could get lost in the shuffle, all those bones...
By , at 12:30 AM
You forgot the part where ear cartilage keeps growing, too.
Some old men have the biggest ears! Not in a sticky-out way, but from top to bottom.
We've just started gettinG Commander in Chief out here in Oz, and I was amazed by the size of the ears that the new VP (Keaton, is it?) was sporting. Huuuuge.
By alivicwil, at 1:41 AM
It's true, nose and ear size increase continually throughout a person's life - the ear/nose size ratio to the rest of the face is part of what enables us to estimate a person's age by looking at them.
By Craig, at 7:19 AM
Most species only leave bones - we leave artifacts as well. So add up the total number of things you own at home and work - paper clips, coffee mugs, mcmuffin makers, shingles, red rubber balls, midden heaps...and figure that a fraction of all those things might just survive a holocaust. That'll be what the scientists study.
By Scooter, at 7:25 AM
I'm sticking with your probable future story, and I am so teaching it to my kids. And when they ask how I know so much about the future, all credit goes to you, Dan.
And when they ask why my nose and ears are so big I'm blaming Craig...
By the other sarah, at 7:36 AM
(You weren't kidding. That medicine is good.) I was thinking about that ear and nose growing thing and then I started thinking about how ear hair and nose hair seem to grow really long in old men. So you should add nose hair to your photoshop.
By elizabeth, at 9:18 AM
Ewwww.... I don't want my nose to keep growing... gross. I happen to think noses are weird, and I don't like mine. It getting bigger can only make the problem worse.
By , at 10:22 AM
you're forgetting about the billions of people who have already died too. the left bones laying around too you know.
By hubs, at 10:24 AM
I recently just thought that my ears are far too large for the rest of my gorgeous body. And I know they are only going to get larger and it scares the crap out of me. I am going to be one of those old guys with huge, floppy ears. I am so getting plastic surgery the minute a little kid calls them out.
By brent, at 10:53 AM
There is a surgery that can pin your ears back, so they don't stick out as much. I had no idea that eyeballs grew, but I knew about the nose and ears.
Just sharing...what I already knew...?
By Elle Marie, at 11:55 AM
I have that book, too (Short History...). I bought it right when it came out so that's, what? Three years now? It's totally fascinating, but really easy to be distracted when reading it. I read most of it when I was sitting on rocks by the ocean. Maybe you need a calming, nature-y visual aid like I did. C'mon, you've got all those lakes, right?
By , at 2:46 PM
This reminded me of one of my favorite Uncle Ray quotes, "Her hair glistened in the moonlight like nose hair after a sneeze."
By billthecatlives, at 8:00 PM
What about the dog who shat on the couch? I'm sure it'll become fossils, too.
By stapler, at 8:40 PM
Oh man... I had almost forgotten Uncle Ray...
So close, damn.
By the other sarah, at 9:41 PM
BTW- this reminds me of a Jack Handey quote...
"When you're riding in a time machine way far into the future, don't stick your elbow out the window, or it'll turn into a fossil."
By the other sarah, at 11:01 PM
Dan - there is way to much worrying going on in that pretty little head of yours....plus the main artifacts that will remain from our society is the millions of silicone boob implants.
By , at 5:32 AM
I agree with this last anonymous poster, Dan. You really worry too much. It's very entertaining, though.
By Georg, at 10:54 AM
what about all the fillings in our teeth? they will find that crap and wonder who the hell came up with the idea of putting metal into teeth. Ever look at the teeth of third world kids begging for money? beauties..never had sugar cross their teeth, but with us, its full of metal and maybe if we have any class.. gold.At least my caps are gold baby..Ill be a rich metal mouth when they find me....jill
By , at 10:24 PM
if noses really do keep growing, what would happen if you got a nose job? would that stunt the long-term growth?
By aisy, at 11:39 PM
the cartilage in your nose NEVER stops growing, which if true explains Karl Malden, and makes me fear for my own future
Oh dear Dan, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. There are plenty of us large proboscis people out there to keep you company and share in your fear.
By , at 10:12 AM
Dan, I love your way of dealing with existential crisis. Best I've ever heard. I think I'll embrace your vision of making it onto some alien species kid's bedsheets when I'm having a late night cosmic freak out. Thanks.
By PeaceBang, at 8:15 PM
A bit more than that, actually. Eyeball mean diameter for males (front to back):
birth: 17.5 mm
puberty: 21 mm
adult: 24 mm
By Graham, at 3:04 PM
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