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16 Parts of Your Body You Didn’t Even Realize Had a Name

Anatomy model on laboratory background
chanyut Sribua-rawd/Shutterstock

For some people, eyes are just eyes and hands are just hands. For those who study anatomy, there are many intricate parts of the human body. Many of these body parts have names that the general public doesn’t even know.

Auricular Muscles

Auricular muscles in most mammals enable them to move their ears to help them listen better. It’s a set of three ear muscles that humans have, too, but have mostly ceased to be able to use them. They can be used, however, if you have the time to focus on getting them functioning again with practice!

Canthus

The canthus is a part of your eye. It is the area where the upper and lower eyelids connect on both sides of your eyes.

Columella nasi

That spot right between your nostrils has a name. It is the columella nasi. The name sounds like just what it is, a column between your nostrils! The septum, known by people with an affinity for piercings, is located right behind this spot.

Glabella

Whether or not you have a unibrow, you have a glabella. It is the space right between your eyebrows. It’s at the top of your sinus passage and the beginning of your forehead, and part of your frontal bone.

Gnathion

The very bottom point of your chin is called the gnathion. If you put your finger on the base of your chin, you’ll be pointing right at this spot.

Hallux

Likely, you didn’t know that your toes have individual names. Your big toe is the hallux. An interesting fact about toes is that the hallux should be your longest too, but about 40 percent of the people in the world have a longer second toe!

Jacobson’s Organ

Jacobson’s organ, or the vomeronasal organ, is an organ that is found in not only mammals but also reptiles and amphibians. It’s a sensory cell cluster located in the main chamber of the nasal passage. In many mammals, including dogs, this organ serves a crucial purpose because those animals have receptors that make this organ more powerful. In humans, it’s mostly non-functional, though it does detect pheromones. Its purpose is to detect odors coming from moisture.

It’s the Jacobson’s organ in dogs that enables them to smell and detect illnesses and even know when you’re afraid of them.

Lacrimal Punctum

The lacrimal punctum is the small hole in your inner eyelid. There’s one at the top and one at the bottom. Some people refer to it as the eyelid hole, but it has an actual name. It connects to your tear duct via the lacrimal canals.

Lunula

Structure of human nail
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You’ve probably noticed the white part at the base of your fingernail when you’re trimming or painting your nails. This is the lunula, so named because of its crescent shape resembling a small moon. Lunula comes from the word for “little moon” in Latin.

Some people lack a lunula, which isn’t a big deal unless it’s a sign of malnutrition.

The Mesentery

There’s a whole mess of stuff going on in your lower abdomen, and the mesentery helps connect it all. It’s a fold of tissue found inside your gut that helps connect the stomach, intestines, and all of the other abdominal organs.

Interestingly, this is a fairly new discovery in the body. Some research was published in 2016 about the existence of this interesting organ.

Palmaris Longus

There’s a long tendon that stretches up the arm, from the wrist to the elbow, and it’s called palmaris longus. Not all people have it, though it is also found in many primates and some other animals. In primates, it’s helpful when climbing and swinging through trees. In humans, surgeons often harvest this tendon to use in different places in the body to replace worn out tendons.

The Philtrum

That groove beneath your nose has a name. It is called the philtrum. In dogs, the philtrum is the slit found just below their nose that connects with the mouth—it’s where they collect molecules that help them combine their senses of taste and smell. In humans, the philtrum is just part of your face and has no real special abilities.

The Plantaris

Not to be confused with the similar-sounding plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation in the tissue of the heel of the foot, the plantaris is a muscle in your leg. This muscle is located in the back of your leg, in the calf area, and really doesn’t seem to serve a purpose (according to science).

Popliteal Fossa

You’re aware of your armpits, but did you know you have “kneepits” too? The proper name for the posterior bend of your leg, at the knee, is popliteal fossa.

Purlicue

That gap between your thumb and index finger is the purlicue. It may seem like empty space to you, but that area helps with grip when opening cans! It is also a common acupressure point that may help with headaches and breathing issues.

Tragus

If you put your hand up to your ear and feel the point where it connects to your face, there is a protruding bump of cartilage there—that is the tragus. People who work in the piercing industry, or collect body piercings, may have heard of this body part before.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »