Have you ever learned that some animals are “warm-blooded” while others are “cold-blooded”? Warm-blooded animals are those who are able to keep their body temperature relatively consistent regardless of the temperature around them. Cold-blooded animals, on the other hand, usually have a body temperature that is about the same as the environment around them – their bodies are hot when the weather is hot, and their bodies are cold when the weather is cold!
If you guessed that humans fall into the “warm-blooded” category, then you were right! The human body’s average normal temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people are naturally a little warmer or a little cooler, but the human body is programmed to keep its temperature as close to 98.6 as possible. Because our bodies are warm-blooded, when we get too hot or too cold (such as from playing soccer on a summer day or building a snowman in December), our bodies do certain things to get back to about 98.6 degrees! You’re probably already familiar with what some of these are: For cooling down we usually sweat, while for warming up we shiver!
There’s a special part of the brain in charge of regulating all of this temperature control. (After all, it’s not like you command yourself to sweat!) Located at the base of the brain, this special part is called the hypothalamus. In addition to body temperature, the hypothalamus also regulates things like thirst, hunger, and emotions. – And yet, it’s only about the size of a pea!!