Surprising Facts That Will Change How You Look at Science
From physics to psychology to botany, science tries to explain every part of reality. While high school science classes may not have been your cup of tea, that doesn’t mean science itself is boring — far from it. Here are some incredible facts that show just how amazing the subject area truly is.
You might not expect a creature with no backbone and a lifespan of only a few years or even months to be very smart, but you’d be wrong. Octopuses use tools in the wild and captivity, recognize themselves in mirrors, perform daring escapes from aquarium tanks and even demonstrate unique personalities.
Ghost Planets Are a Thing
The whole "is Pluto a planet" debate is nothing compared to speculation that there may be an unknown planet in the solar system — and it's believed to be about 10 times the size of Earth. The ghost planet, dubbed Planet Nine, has been the object of a search since 2016.
Lizard Blood as a Malaria Cure
Blood doesn't seem like an obvious cure for disease, but when it comes to certain types of blood, it may be just that. The prasinohaema, a lizard found in New Guinea, has blood with a very high concentration of green bile pigment, more than any other animal, and scientists think it could have medical uses.
Ants Have Built-in Compasses
Ants are impressive for many reasons, including their super strength, ability to communicate with pheromones and impressive building abilities. However, nothing compares to how some of them use the very planet itself to survive and thrive.
Giant Sloths Existed
Sloths spend much of their lives relaxing, sleeping or eating, and almost all while hanging around in trees. They’re lazy and adorable. However, a few thousand years ago, there was a sloth relative in the Americas with a very different approach to life.
Plants Are a Chatty Bunch
Plants may seem like they live lonely, isolated lives with no way to communicate with others of their kind. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, plants speak to each other all the time.
Another Blood Cure
It's not just lizard blood that could harbor a cure to many of the ailments and diseases that plague humanity. Other animals on the planet can actually create and produce certain antibodies that humans can't, which leads to their blood being pretty valuable in the medical sense.
Head Transplants Aren't Just Sci-Fi
When you think of a head transplant, you might automatically picture a deranged evil scientist laughing over a patient on a steel slab with electricity going haywire all around them, but they may be possible in the near future.
Dinner Time Used to Be Really Different
Modern dinner tables are generally full of typical staples such as steak, chicken, veggies. While insects may also be on the menu in some countries, for many people, eating bugs is absolutely off-limits.
Different Blood Types Have a Huge Impact
There are four main blood types — A, B, AB and O — and every person on the planet fits into one of them. Your type is determined by proteins on your red blood cells called antigens, and each type is further divided into positive and negative variations based on whether your blood has Rhesus antigens.
Life Might Exist in the Solar System Outside Earth
A lot of people think that the only planet in the solar system that can harbor life is Earth. However, there are other places in our corner of the cosmic woods that might have the ingredients necessary to sustain life, if only in microscopic form.
Memories Aren't Always Real
Are your memories actually your own? That depends, really. A team of scientists managed to transfer genetic information from snail to snail, making one have memories that it actually hadn't experienced. This transplantation of memories was done by messing with the RNA in their bodies.
Drugs Are Little Hitchhikers
If Nancy Reagan is to be believed, all you need to do is just say no to drugs. Seems simple, right? Well, it turns out that drugs might me more mobile than you would think.
The common cold lives up to its name by being found everywhere. The viruses that cause it are found everywhere, and for most of human history, colds were just a part of life. However, that may now be changing.
Dinosaurs Were Tough Eggs to Crack
You probably know dinosaurs laid eggs, but have you ever wondered how they managed to keep them warm without squishing them? Tyrannosaurus Rex was not a dainty creature, so it’s hard to imagine how they avoided turning their future young into scrambled eggs.
Invisible Polar Bears
Infrared cameras are designed to capture heat from objects to create an image of where something is. The hotter something is, the more visible it becomes on the infrared imagery. You’d think that would mean that such cameras could detect any creature, but the polar bear can be nearly invisible on them.
Your Genes Don't Die When You Do
We think of death as being the end of the body. Everything shuts down, and that’s it — game over. While that’s largely true, it isn’t completely, and the exceptions are fascinating.
The Length of the Milky Way
Traveling all the way across the Milky Way is clearly science fiction, but you can be forgiven for hoping that some of our descendants might be able to pull it off someday. Who doesn’t want to imagine a whole galaxy waiting to be explored?
A Star Is Born
By some estimates, there are around 9,096 stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky and 250 billion in the Milky Way — give or take 150 billion. You likely know that stars are enormous balls of gas and plasma, but have you ever wondered where they came from?
Boiling and Freezing at the Same Time
We normally think of freezing and boiling as mutually exclusive states, and in most cases, they are. With sufficient heat and pressure, matter turns to liquid or gas, while in the absence of those things, gases condense and liquids freeze. However, it’s not always so simple.
Rock Beats Scissors, Water Beats Laser
If you watch movies like Star Wars or even Austin Powers, you may think that lasers are powerful, and to be fair, they certainly are. After all, we use them for everything from DVD players and surgery to rifle sights and naval weapons platforms. But did you know they can be trapped in water?
The Existence of Black Holes
One of the biggest mysteries in astronomy is the existence of black holes. Formed by the collapse of stars, these super massive stellar objects pull in everything around them with their powerful gravity, even light.
Cats Always Land on Their Feet
For many people, cats are such an ordinary part of life that they don’t warrant much thought. However, cats are physical and biological miracles in their own way. While it’s not true that a cat always lands on its feet, it will far more often than not, and the reason is surprising.
Your DNA Can Reach Space
The human genome has 23 chromosome pairs stored in the nucleus of each cell. While DNA naturally has a spiral shape, it’s further twisted by enzymes that make it able to fit into such tiny spaces.
The Sheer Amount of Atoms
Atoms are everything–literally. They make up every solid, liquid and gas as well as more exotic states of matter like plasma and form the basic building blocks of nearly everything we interact with in our daily lives
You've Probably Walked Around the World
With the invention of computers and other conveniences that have gotten us off our feet, much of the Western world has adopted a more sedentary lifestyle. However, assuming a person lives to the ripe old age of 80, they will on average have walked around 216 million steps over the course of their lifetime.
Helium Defies Gravity
Helium is commonly known as the gas that can make balloons stay afloat for an entire birthday party — and the one that makes your voice sound funny. However, it can be just as fun to play with in liquid form. (Although unless you’re a scientist, you really shouldn’t.)
Blood Cells Move Fast
Your body is full of blood — about 5-6 quarts on average, to be exact. In a healthy person, the heart also beats around 70 times a minute, pumping out almost 2.5 ounces of blood every single time it beats. It's always working to get blood circulating around the body.
Your Brain Never Stops Working For You
As you climb into bed each night, you may feel like your body is shutting down. Our bodies become sluggish, and thoughts and concentration become more difficult to maintain. However, the brain doesn’t quit working once the lights go out.
Flamingos Aren't Actually Pink
The beautiful pink feathers of the majestic flamingo are certainly something to marvel at, but they're not born with that wonderful pink hue. In fact, their feathers are actually more of a grey-white color when they first hatch.