QI has claimed that there are no muscles in the fingers, but goosebumps are caused by tiny muscles, aren't they? The fingers contain arrector pili muscles: 'muscle fibers' that are connected to every hair follicles.
An Elf responds:
Dear Gav and Rob,
Of course, you're right. This came up in the course of our research, in fact, Stephen's card on the day had the following:
"However, if one wanted to be ultra-pedantic, one could say that there are actually thousands of muscles in each finger, if you include the tiny muscles that cause your hairs to stand up, or your blood vessels to contract. "
However due to the constraints of a half-hour (or now 45 minute) show, sometimes Stephen doesn't get a chance to mention every fact on his cards - and indeed sometimes he mentions things that get cut in the editing suite.
So this piece of pedantry unfortunately never saw the light of day.
While we're here, here are some other factoids on Stephen's card that never made it to air:
To move your fingers side-to-side, like to do the "live long and prosper" sign, you work muscles in your hand, again these are not in the fingers themselves. A human hand has 27 bones; in fact, over half the body's bones can be found in the hands and feet. The human body has over 600 muscles, the word comes from the Latin for "little mouse" because the movement of the biceps was thought to resemble the movement of a mouse under the skin.
A commonly seen factoid on the net says that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. This is completely wrong, no matter what definition of "strongest" one uses. The strongest muscle will actually be the largest (which means it's either your gluteus maximus or the quadriceps in your thigh) or the one that can exert most pressure on an object which means it's your jaw muscle. A strong case though can be made for the uterus, which is probably the strongest "pound for pound", it weighs around a kilogram, but during childbirth can exert a force equivalent to a modern longbow.
This is just a small percentage of the hand and muscle facts that were at Stephen's fingers for the show; hopefully it gives an idea of the work that the elves do for each question.
Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary
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