Where were you when you learned that giraffes have black tongues, or that some turtles can live for hundreds of years? Maybe you read these tidbits on a Snapple cap, but there are even more incredible facts that completely change how we look at the so-called ordinary world.
While the human mind is capable of making up some pretty outlandish pieces of fiction, nothing will ever rival what Mother Nature can dish out in all its odd and baffling glory. and these head-scratching realities are proof of that!
1. There’s an oceanic isopod that acts as a parasite to fish and replaces their tongue! They enter through the gills where they sever the blood vessels of the tongue and take over food consumption.
2. Researchers at the non-profit Oceana found an alarming truth about the fish consumers buy. They claim most of it is purposefully mislabeled, which means that the expensive yellowtail you bought could very well actually be catfish or some other bottom feeder.
3. Sentencing people to death by way of the guillotine sounds cruel and unusual nowadays, but France did it up until 1977. That was the same year Star Wars: A New Hope came out!
4. Jellyfish aren’t just bizarre looking: their anatomy is just as weird. They use the same opening to consume food as they do to excrete waste. They’re the trash talkers of the ocean!
5. If you’re the kind of person who’s terrified of bugs, just know there are actually microscopic mites with wormlike bodies that live on your face! Luckily, you’ll never actually see them.
6. Because food and liquids travel down the same tube in our throats, it’s impossible to breathe and swallow at the same time. If you try to attempt it you’ll end up choking.
7. Nearly all of the water we drink daily has been recycled for millions of years on Earth, which means when we pour a glass, chances are a bunch of it passed through a dinosaur at one point.
8. Australia is a massive continent, but surely none of its measurements compare to a planet, right? Actually, the diameter of Australia is almost twice that of Pluto. That’s right, a planet!
9. If you want to impress your partner with diamonds, head to Saturn or Jupiter where it actually rains diamonds. Intense lightning storms turn methane into soot, which turns to diamonds as it crashes to the ground.
10. There are plenty of careers that require you to plaster a smile on you face all day. However, that fake smile can cause withdrawal from the job, which, in the long run, can have detrimental health effects.
11. When we think of carrots, we usually think of those bright orange root veggies. However, carrots were originally purple! The Carrot Museum believes the orange color came from “gradual selection within yellow carrot populations.”
12. In movies, garlic is always used as a vampire deterrent. However, scientists in Norway found that leeches — which are basically the vampires of the animal kingdom — attached themselves to garlic-covered skin quicker than clean skin.
13. If you find yourself craving ice, it doesn’t mean you want something crunchy to eat. It actually means you might be anemic, or lacking iron. So if you crave the cubes, go see a doctor.
14. Mike the Headless Chicken lived for a full 18 months before finally kicking the bucket, proving chickens can actually live with their head chopped off. His hometown of Fruita, Colorado holds a ceremony for him every year.
15. Vampire bats get their name for the immense amount of blood they consume. How much exactly? Every time they feed on a victim they consume half of their own body weight!
16. Flamingos come in all sorts of beautiful shades of pink, but they don’t start life that way. The pink color actually comes from all the shrimp they consume.
17. We see women wearing variations of heels every day, but when a man does it, it looks a little odd. Funny enough, though, heels were originally designed for men. Taller meant more powerful.
18. There’s a beer brewery in Japan called Un Kono Kuro that makes a unique beer involving elephants. It’s kind of gross, but elephant droppings are used in the process. As nasty as it sounds, it still sells!
19. Have you ever heard of the Troxler Effect? It causes someone to see something that isn’t actually there in their peripheral vision in mirrors. Often times the images take on creepy shapes.
You can literally dig through the Internet for hours on end and find millions of freaky facts. However, you’ll find there are almost more surprises than you can handle if you turn your focus solely toward the human body!
1. The acid in your stomach could dissolve a razor blade. Testing this fact might require a trip to the hardware store (followed by a trip to the hospital), but you can also just take the word of experts on the Internet. Your call.
Zephyris / Wikimedia
2. Stomach? Pff. Who needs it? You can live with out it, actually, as well as 75 percent of your liver, an entire kidney, 80 percent of your intestines, a spleen, one lung, and all of your groin-region organs (yikes). In other words, a fair amount of the stuff squished into your body isn’t really necessary. If you’re missing all of those at once, though, you might need some Pepto-Bismol.
St. Joseph’s Imaging
3. Your epidermis is showing! Don’t try to remove it, either, because it’d be fruitless: that outer layer of skin completely regenerates every two to four weeks. Every year, in fact, you lose about one-and-a-half pounds of dead skin.
4. Anyone who has ever broken a bone might not believe this one, but your bones are really, really strong. So strong that, pound for pound, their durability and strength blows steel out of the water. In fact, you could stack the weight of five pickup trucks—about 19,000 pounds—onto one cubic inch of bone without breaking it (though it does depend how quickly the force is applied).
Popular Science Monthly
5. Believe it or not, your eye color isn’t necessarily static: About 10 to 15 percent of the Caucasian population undergoes eye-color changes. Careful though. Too dramatic a change can mean that you’re coming down with a nasty eye disease such as Fuch’s heterochromic iridocyclitis, Horner’s syndrome, or pigmentary glaucoma.
Nicholas Petrone / Flickr
6. Your lungs have a surface area roughly equal to that of a tennis court—that’s about 2,800 square feet. Can they take the force of a fierce Rafael Nadal backhand, though? That remains to be seen.
7. Believe it or not, 150,000 hairs sprout from the average human head, and each one of those hairs can support a weight of about three ounces. By combining the strength of each of your luscious locks, you could support 12 tons, or roughly the weight of two elephants! Maybe the story of Rapunzel isn’t so far-fetched after all?
8. In a standoff between hunger and sleep, hunger would win every time. That’s because you can live about three (tragic and horrific) weeks without eating, but a mere 11 days without sleep, you’ll start shutting down.
9. Your pinky—not your thumb—is actually where a good amount of your hand’s strength comes from. Turns out losing a pinky will cost you more than the ability to drink with class, it actually supports half of all the strength of your hand!
10. Put down that barbell and step off the treadmill. All you need to do to improve your body’s strongest muscle is bite into a tough $10 steak. Based on weight, the jaw muscle—also known as the masseter—is the strongest muscle you have.
Jaws / Universal
11. Your small intestine is about 20 feet long (oddly enough, the large intestine is only five feet long). That means you could loop your lower intestine around the rim of a basketball hoop and have it touching the ground on both ends. That’s a lot of guts all up inside you!
OpenStax College / Wikimedia
12. If you laid out the blood vessels of the average adult end to end, they would stretch as far as 100,000 miles. That’s about four times around the Earth at its equator, or 550,000 sprints across an entire football field.
13. You’ve likely seen the red or violet eyes of an albino animal or human. In actuality, albinism leads to no pigment in the iris; light simply bounces right off the eye and then exits. This produces the “red” effect, and it’s the same lighting trick at work in red-eye photographs.
Felipe Fernandes / Flickr
14. If you’re healthy and average, it’s possible to produce four gallons of sweat per day. Even more fascinating: you don’t just keep sweating until you shrivel up and die. Your body will shut down and force you to cool off—or die trying—before you run out of liquid for sweat.
minghong / Wikimedia
15. You produce more body heat than you might think. Over the course of an hour, you radiate 350,000 joules of energy; that’s enough to match a light bulb’s output or boil a half-cup of water in just half an hour.
GRAN / Wikimedia
16. Over the course of your life, you’ll produce enough saliva to fill up two swimming pools. Unless you’re like one of Pavlov’s dogs come dinnertime—then you might drool a bit more. The good news? In half of a lifetime, you can have the pool you’ve always dreamed of.
ABZ Private School / Wikimedia
17. Human beings are the only living things which sleep on their backs.
18. During their lifetime, a person will on average accidentally swallow eight small spiders.
19. Human lips are hundreds of times more sensitive than the tips of a person’s fingers.
20. During a person’s lifetime, they spend about 2 weeks kissing.