Who Am I? Human Organs Edition

SCIENCE

Jodi C.

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Your body is like a team in which everyone needs to work together. Do you know all the players by name? Find out now with our quiz! (Note: Some multi-tasking organs may appear more than once).

I'm the hydraulic pump for the whole circulatory system.

How this tough workhorse of the circulatory system became the body's supposed emotional center ("trust your heart"), we'll never know. The heart is, in essence, a hydraulic pump.

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I detoxify your blood after a night out.

This organ is the body's powerhouse detoxifier. But heavy, long-term drinking can overwhelm its powers, so take it easy at the bar!

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I bring the world into clear focus.

The lens of your eye is not unlike the lens of a telescope. It's a clear, slightly-convex object through which light passes and is focused.

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Keep me happy if you don't want to get "hangry."

The stomach is one of the better-known organs of the human body. It's a myth that it shrinks when you start eating less, but your appetite might.

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I work in a similar way to the lens.

The cornea is like an exterior lens on the surface of the eyeball, that refracts and focuses light. Fun fact: The cornea is the only organ that can be donated without pre-mortem permission.

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We work closely with our good friend, the liver.

The liver and kidneys work hand-in-hand (so to speak) to clear toxins from the body. When they're working properly, they render those "power juice cleanses" unnecessary. (And when they're not, a "cleanse" isn't going to help, anyway!)

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I give life its flavor!

The tongue gives us the sense of taste, via the tastebuds (sometimes defined as organs on their own). Fun fact: It's a myth that there are only five senses. Others include the sensation of heat and cold, or proprioception, the awareness of one's balance.

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If I start breaking down, you might have acid reflux.

The esophagus is the passage through which food passes from the mouth to the stomach; it contracts rhythmically to aid this downward movement. To avoid the acid reflux that can come from age-related wear and tear on this organ, be moderate in your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, citrus, and tomatoes.

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Like the kidneys, I can get painful stones.

The gallbladder produces bile, which aids in the digestion of fats. Gallstones, usually made of hardened cholesterol, sometimes require the removal of the gallbladder.

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We exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide.

The lungs are another of the body's "name brand" organs; the kind you learn about in grade school. They are not actually made like balloons, but rather are like honeycombs, filled with branching vessels.

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I support the lungs from underneath.

Technically, this is known as the thoracic diaphragm, as there are other diaphragms in the body. Singers -- especially opera singers -- rely on a powerful thoracic diaphragm. It gives them the breath control they need for those demanding arias.

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Sorry guys, only women have one of these!

If you said "brain," haha -- but it's the uterus, informally known as the womb.The uterus is about the size of a pear in a woman who has never been pregnant but expands to accommodate a growing fetus.

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Sorry ladies, only guys have one of these!

If you said "brain," well, turnabout is fair play ... but it's the prostate gland. It's part of the male reproductive system.

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I'm more than just a storage tank for urine!

The bladder is not exactly inert, like we tend to think of it. It's lined with smooth muscle that contracts to allow emptying.

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I'm part of the immune system and can become swollen when unhealthy.

The lymph nodes are a kind of "canary in the coal mine" for the immune system. When they are inflamed or swollen, it is a sign of disease.

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We are critical to male fertility.

Testes are often removed from livestock. Castration causes an animal to become more docile and to gain weight (for slaughter) and prevents the undesirable breeding stock from impregnating females.

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These are key to female fertility.

The ovaries, like the testes in men, produce hormones that are important to sex drive and general vitality. For this reason, they are not removed as a contraception method, any more than a man would have his testes removed for that purpose.

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I'm an immune organ that holds extra red blood cells for emergencies.

You can live without your spleen; an injury or illness can require its removal. But you'll have to keep an eye on your blood-cell counts and watch out for certain cancers later in life.

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I'm the largest organ in the human body.

It's easy to forget that the skin is an organ -- it seems inert, like hair. But skin is alive and vulnerable to diseases like cancer (so don't forget your sunscreen!).

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Graves' disease and Hashimoto's disease are two of my common disorders.

Among endocrine disorders, thyroid problems are among the most common and well-known. Thyroid function is often what doctors check first in cases of unexplained weight gain or loss.

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I produce insulin to keep your blood sugar stable.

Like the pituitary, the pancreas is a gland. When it malfunctions, the result is usually diabetes.

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I am the command center of the body!

The brain is probably the most enigmatic of the human organs; its shape and structure give no hint as to what it does. That's why the ancient Egyptians did not embalm it along with the other organs. They discarded it because it looked like nothing more than packing material to support the skull.

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If you're unusually brave, you might give one of these to someone in need.

Since humans have two kidneys, people give them to siblings or other family members. Others have even given kidneys to strangers when they were biologically compatible. Now that's altruism!

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I lie between the stomach and large intestine.

The name "small intestine" is a misnomer. Laid flat, it would measure about nine to ten feet long. (Do not try this at home!)

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I'm part of both the digestive and the excretory system.

The large intestine is actually shorter than the small intestine, at about five feet. It includes the rectum, where feces is stored before excretion via the anal canal.

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I have four chambers.

The four sections of the heart are the left and right atria (plural of "atrium") and the left and right ventricles. Contrary to what you may believe, a heart attack does not occur when the passages between these chambers get clogged with cholesterol -- rather, calcified cholesterol builds up inside the arteries of the heart muscle itself, weakening it until the heart does not work properly.

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Along with the bone marrow, I am part of the immune system.

The thymus is located between the heart and the sternum (aka the breastbone). It produces T cells, which destroy foreign invaders.

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I am the home of the vocal chords.

The larynx is informally called the voice box. As you'd expect, it's located in the throat.

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Iodine deficiency causes me to work improperly.

Not-so-fun fact: People who live near nuclear power plants are often distributed iodine supplements by the utility company, to keep with their emergency supplies. This is because one effect of radiation exposure is thyroid cancer, and iodine supplements taken after an incident could be protective.

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I can release glycogen stores when you need a burst of energy.

The liver is primarily known for its role in detoxification, but it also releases glycogen (a simple-sugar energy source) in times of need. Glycogen is also stored in other parts of the body, especially the muscles.

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We live on top of the kidneys.

The adrenal glands give their name to adrenalin. However, they also produce lesser-known hormones like aldosterone.

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I'm tiny but powerful -- about the size of a pea.

Some people call the pituitary, located in the brain just under the hypothalamus, the "master gland" for its power over key bodily functions like blood pressure, thyroid function and more. This might, though, undervalue the role played by other endocrine organs.

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In antiquity, I was thought to produce a "humor" that made people sad.

"Splenetic" people were said to be melancholy or moody. This was part of the "four humors" theory of health, which suggested that a dominant "humor" (bodily substance) was not only the root of physical health but of one's disposition.

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I produce a hormone essential to sleep.

The pineal gland produces melatonin, which regulates sleep. The pineal gland also secretes small amounts of DMT -- which, in larger quantities, is a powerful hallucinogen. Partly for this reason, the pineal gland fascinates New Age writers.

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My regions include the dentate gyrus and medulla oblongata.

There is more than one way to divide and label the brain. The most complex is in many neurological regions like the two listed above. On the (far) other end of the spectrum is the "left brain/right brain" division. While the brain does have a left and right hemisphere, theories about how one hemisphere dictates personality have been discarded as pseudoscience.

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I am thought of as the brain's "fear center."

There are actually two amygdalae, which are almond-shaped glands within the brain that regulate fear arousal. But it's common to refer to "the amygdala," singular.

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