Goose bumps

Have you ever thought back a very memorable time in your life and gotten goose bumps? What a strange reaction that our skin can have to nostalgia.

Other than being a scary children’s book series from the 90s, I know very little about goose bumps. How the heck do all those little bumps form on our skin only to go away after a short while. And what’s even more, why are they called goose bumps?

Those are the questions I am wondering today.

Goose Bump Facts:

According to Wikipedia, the reflex of producing goose bumps is also known as arasing piloerection or the pilomotor reflex and it occurs when tiny muscles at the base of each hair contract and pull the hair erect.

In the animal kingdom, the erect hair makes the animals appear bigger which is why goose bumps are a common response to fear.

During the formation of goose bumps, the body is warmed which explains why humans and animals get the tiny bumps on our arms and legs when we are cold.

As for why they are called goose bumps, there seems to be no exact reason.

One explanation is that when a goose’s feathers are plucked, its skin creates bumps where the feathers had been. These bumps resemble the bumps humans can get when we are cold or afraid.

Another more confusing and R rated explanation says that the name comes from the saying, “bitten by a Winchester goose” which was an old term for sexually transmitted diseases. Apparently “Winchester geese” was the nickname for prostitutes in South London in the 16th century.

What just happened? How did we get from goose bumps to 16th century women of the night.

Seems like there is a bad joke in there somewhere, but much like a “Winchester goose”, I’m not going to touch it.

I don’t really know where to go from here. How can I possibly wrap up this very strange post that had both an anatomy lesson as well as a history lesson.

So I hope you learned something and I will try and keep the wonder why posts G rated from now on.



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