Goosebumps have been one of the mysteries of our bodies ever since we became intelligent. The mystery is that we have been clueless about the mechanism behind them since various things trigger them. For example, a special person can touch you, causing excitement, thus causing goosebumps. Humans also get goosebumps when it is cold outside.
The variety of causative factors is the reason behind the uncertainties. However, science is concerned with understanding things we know not, which is why some scientists have been working on identifying those reasons. Scientists from Harvard University believe that they might have finally debunked the mystery behind goosebumps.
Reacting to external stimuli
You probably learned about the anatomy of the human body in high school, including how the skin functions. To sum it up, our skin is an organ, just like the liver, heart, or kidney. Body organs have special functions. The skin’s function is to protect internal organs, and this protection extends beyond just being covered by the skin.
When it is hot outside, you sweat, and this mechanism contributes to regulating and optimizing our internal body temperature. When it is cold, your body pores shut down to reduce moisture loss and subsequent loss of heat. This means that the skin has sensory mechanisms that allow it to work with the brain to trigger the reaction that corresponds with the prevailing environmental conditions, whether hot or cold.
Animals have fur that protects them from the cold and from the effects of scorching sun, among other systems that help them regulate their internal body temperature. However, human skin is not covered by hair. The mechanism for the skin’s reactions has a lot to do with the tissues that make organs. The three main types of tissues are nerve, mesenchyme, and epithelium tissues. The nerve tissues tend to accumulate around hair follicles. The nerves have smooth muscles running through the mesenchyme, and they connect to the hair stem cells.
Scientists observed through a high-resolution microscope that the interaction between the nerve cells and stem cells is responsible for the formation of goosebumps. The cells pick up sensory stimuli such as the cold, which is then interpreted by the neurons, and a reaction is triggered, such as muscle contraction when it is cold, which causes the hairs to stand on their ends.