The living human being performs many functions as a part of daily life.
a. Nutrition. The body takes in materials for energy, growth, and repair. Since the body cannot produce its own energy, it must continually take in foods to supply that energy to carry on the life processes. This food also provides materials for growth and repair of the cells and tissues.
b. Motion and Locomotion. Being an erect, standing organism, the body requires special supporting structures. At the same time, it needs a mechanical arrangement to allow the parts to move (motion) and to move from place to place (locomotion).
c. Reproduction. For the species to continue, there must be reproduction, the formation of new human beings belonging to subsequent generations.
d. Control. All of this activity is controlled by three major systems of the body--heredity/environment, hormones, and the nervous system. Hormones provide a chemical control system. The nervous system works much like circuitry in a computer. In the final analysis, however, all of the structures and functions of the body are determined by special units called genes, the study of which is genetics and the transmission of which is heredity. Heredity determines the potential range of an organism's characteristics. The environment determines which potential characteristics are developed and to what degree.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.