Some animals can grow back body parts that get crushed or cut off.  For example, salamanders can grow back a leg, flatworms can grow back a head, lizards can grow back a tail and starfish can regenerate an entire starfish from a single arm. Human beings can only grow back superficial layers of skin. However, the ability to grow back a limb is most likely within us, especially since we grew them in the first place while still in the womb. So scientists have been hard at work trying to understand why humans are not able to grow back a head or a finger. The answer seems to lie in how human bodies respond to injuries and how the bodies of other animals that can regenerate body parts respond to injuries. For example, in a salamander’s body, macrophage cells prevent wounded tissue from scarring, a key difference from human bodies. Since scarring is prevented in salamander bodies, this means that severed limbs can grow back without being blocked by the scar tissue. Another clue to understanding limb regeneration may actually lie within us, since our liver is able to regenerate itself to some extent pretty well especially considering that it is quite a complex organ.

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Categories: Fun Reads