12 cool things we learned about humans in 2021

From the tiny microbes we carry in our guts to the electric pathways that ferry information through our brains, the human body is still a mystery to scientists. But every year, scientists find out a little bit more about what makes us tick. From discovering the fastest acceleration in the human body to finding out that there are universal sounds that all humans, regardless of language, understand, here are the coolest things we learned about humans in 2021.

Your pupils can count.

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Pupils have many abilities, which now include counting. People’s pupil sizes change depending on the number of objects they see around them, according to a study published Oct. 12 in the journal Nature Communications. To figure this out, the team measured people’s pupil sizes as they looked at images of dots on a monitor in a quiet, dark room. The images contained either 18 or 24 dots, and each dot was either on its own or grouped with a small line. The participants’ pupil sizes changed depending on how many dots they perceived; when the participants perceived a greater number of dots, their pupils expanded, and when the participants perceived a smaller number of dots, their pupils constricted.

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