Other than...

…opposable thumbs, are there other parts of the anatomy that naturally oppose each other. Is there a Doctor in the house? :slight_smile:

The body is pretty much laid out in a mirror image, so we have the opportunity to harness all kinds of opposing forces in the name of cohesive body tensions… from the feet and inner legs, right up through the torso armpits, elbows, hands and so on.

The directional inward and outward forces of the club are constantly changing as we move the club around our body, so the synchronizing of it all is the real art form.

There are a lot of combinations that can work… certainly some are better than others.

We are of course working opposing pressures into the ground and the club all at the same time.

YES (to the observation, not the question)!!!

One of the cleverest tricks of physiology is the concept of dynamic equilibrium. Almost all our homeostatic mechanisms involve the use of actively opposed chemical processes, cellular messenger systems, and protein and hormone expressions at equilibrium. That is to say, the body actively expends energy to organize and maintain opposed physiologic forces, so to speak, with the net result being equilibrium. The alternative arrangement, or static equilibrium, would be for equilibrium to maintained by NOT expending energy on either opposing force. The reason that Nature has preferred the dynamic state–which, in theory, would require greater energy expenditure, is because environmental stressors that necessitate QUICK changes in equilibrium are better handled by a dynamic system, by simply decreasing the force on one side of the dynamic equilibrium, allowing the relatively unopposed opposite system to quickly tip the physiologic state towards the desired outcome.

This is a recurring theme in nature, both from human physiology and the natural sciences…

Fascinating. Almost like…

…preterm infants actually losing body weight while feeding is a good measure of stability given the amount of energy used in sucking the bottle exceeds the amount of caloric intake. One would think just the opposite however: if the preterm is losing weight then there is something wrong.

However, I’ve never heard the term “opposable” used with any other body part other than the thumbs. Is there a reason for that? :slight_smile:

the ingenuity of nature is humbling. things work just the way the day because they work just they way they do. part of the reason that all infants lose weight in the first week of life is because they sleep sooooo much (the so called honeymoon period when new parents think things are easy because the first few days the baby sleeps like a champ). this period of increased sleep is coincidentally incident with the period in the first few day when the mother’s milk is not quite flowing yet. nice how that works out, eh?

as for the thumb, i think the term is primarily used to differentiate between the various possible arrangements of digits, primarily between the thumbs of higher-order non-human primates which do not move in a way such as to oppose the other digits (think the “okay” sign).

Sounds as if some entrepreneurial type should come up with the “Infant Milk Bong” - kind of like a beer bong, but for mother’s milk/formula.

I can hear the infomercials now:
-Eliminate that ridiculous energy expenditure from actually having to drink from a bottle!
-Speed up feeding time dramatically!
-Order now and we’ll send you two Infant Milk Bongs for the price of one…(spoken very quickly) just pay the extra processing and handling charge!
-No parent wants their child to “suck”, so order now!

Captain Chaos

I dont want to interrupt this discussion (neither is the follwing important to our understanding of the golf swing). Newborns have an excess of body water 75% of total body weight in preterm; 80% of body weight in term newborns as compared to 60 % in older children and adults. They have to get rid of this excess body water by passing more urine and losses through skin etc. That counts for most of the weight loss. Decreased intake of milk may also contribute.
We do spend energy in eating/sucking as well as digesting the food we eat but is susually a small fraction of the total energy expenditure. It becomes only importan in the sickest babies with very low respiratory reserve where the balance can be tipped by that extra 2% extra oxygen reuired for sucking and digesting the food. These babies are given various forms of predigested nutrition.
Bottom line for Captain “sucking is good”.