29 Myths Even Your Parents Thought Were True
Hi! Do chameleons only change colors for camouflage? No. They can actually change colors to reflect their mood. So, males turn a bright color to show their dominance, and they become darker when they get aggressive. Chameleons also change colors to adapt to different temperatures. A cold chameleon will turn dark to absorb more heat, while a smoking-hot chameleon will turn itself pale to reflect the sun’s rays.
There’s a myth that if you drop a penny from a skyscraper, it’ll pretty much destroy whatever’s underneath. When put to the test, researchers found that it just isn’t true. On its way down, a coin can’t gather enough velocity to cause permanent damage to anything, mostly because of wind resistance and the penny spinning around and stuff... Anyway, just hang onto your change!
Now, some people believe that toilet flushes spin in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere. Some things are affected by the earth’s rotation, like the Gulf Stream or hurricanes, but toilet flushes are way too small. Flushes can spin in either direction, whether they’re in the Northern or Southern hemispheres. Trust me, I know. The biggest determinant of flush direction is the design of the toilet bowl and the water pressure.
There’s a popular saying that “lightning never strikes in the same place twice.” Lightning often strikes near the same place a lot more than that! Lighting generally chooses the tallest, pointiest spot as its target. Researchers have found that The Empire State Building gets struck by lightning almost 100 times a year! And quite a few people have been zapped more than once, like, a lot more! So if you’re tall and pointy, be careful out there!
So, there’s a common belief that bats are blind. But bats have better vision than humans at night, although humans can see more clearly during the day. Maybe this myth came about because bats rely a lot on their hearing to get about? Or maybe it’s because bats see the world in black and white!
Now, do goldfish really have short memories? While most people put it at 7 seconds, in reality, goldfish can remember things for as long as 7 months. Without a good memory, Goldfish who live in nature would never find food!
Did anyone ever tell you that a mother bird will reject its offspring if they’ve been touched by a human? That would be nuts, because most birds don’t have a developed sense of smell... they’d never be able to identify the scent of a person. The vulture is an exception to this rule. It has an amazing nose, but then, who’d want to touch a vulture, anyway?
Ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re scared. Except they don’t. This myth probably came into being because an ostrich’s head is disproportionately small in comparison to its body. So, from a distance, it looks as if the ostrich has its head stuffed in the sand. But, if it really did that, it’d pass out from not being able to breathe!
Another myth is that Opossums hang on branches with their tail. The opossum does use its tail to help it climb trees, but its tail can’t support its weight. Even a hunked-out calisthenics master opossum could only hang there for a few seconds max.
Legend has it that a penguin will fall backward when looking up at an aircraft. Cutest myth ever! Penguins can maintain their balance no matter what, even while looking up at the sky. But low-flying airplanes may cause penguins to flee their nests in panic.
Do dogs really sweat by salivating? No! They sweat through their footpads. But salivating and panting does help them regulate their body temperature.
Cat owners may think that a cat only purrs when it’s happy. But cats also purr when they’re hungry, distressed, or recovering from an injury. Researchers think that purring may be a self-healing trick... somehow it keeps their bones and muscles working better.
There was a time when people thought that unwashed hair was the ideal habitat for head lice. But, head lice don’t discriminate! No! They can make themselves a home in all hair types. All they really want is a warm scalp!
Legend has it that if you run into a skunk, there’s only one possible outcome: you’re gonna stink for a while. But skunks prefer to flee from danger rather than spraying their magic juice around. That smelly spray’s their last line of defense. Before that, they usually stomp their feet and slap their tails to ward off any danger.
Did you know there’s an alpha-wolf in every pack? Except, again, there isn’t. Unlike captive wolves, wild wolves don’t share this kind of social order. They live in family groups, like humans, where the parents are the leaders, and the little one’s gotta do as they’re told!
There’s a myth that owls can turn their heads full circle. But that would cause them significant damage. But still, they can turn their heads comfortably more than half-way around... because of their unique neck-bone structure.
If you ever poked a turtle’s shell, thinking it won’t hurt the guy inside, you’d be wrong. A turtle’s shell is a living and ‘feeling’ part of its body, with a complete nerve-ending supply. If the shell gets damaged, it can even endanger the turtle’s life.
Most people are familiar with the phrase “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” Apples are good for you, sure. They’re packed with nutrients like fiber and vitamin C... but does anyone really think that’s enough?
When it comes to food hygiene, the 5-second rule just doesn’t make sense. There should be a “where-you-drop-it” rule to replace the 5-second one. Generally, if you drop food on your kitchen floor, it’s gonna pick up fewer bacteria than if you drop it at the checkout counter of a busy supermarket. Of course, that’s assuming your kitchen’s clean! Uh oh.
Ever wondered whether the story about chewing gum taking 7 years to digest is true? Nah. It isn’t. Chewing gum isn’t too different from any other food... it takes around the same time to digest. But it’s not exactly nutrient-heavy.
Legend has it that catching a cold is likelier to happen in cold weather. But studies have shown that weather doesn’t really play a part in getting a cold: A virus does! People may experience more cold-like symptoms when the weather is icy-cold, but temperature has nothing to do with recovery time or anything like that.
Do people only use 10% of their brains? Well, I have some friends who seem to... oops, never mind. No. The answer is no. Scientists who’ve studied brain scans say they don’t show any large, dormant areas of the brain. But if the myth is just about humans having a long way to go to reach their full potential... yeah, that sounds about right!
One of life’s no-nos is to jump into the pool right after eating. But hitting the gym after a big meal can leave you feeling just as uncomfortable as doing a few laps. Also, if you’re worried about getting a cramp in the pool...those can happen any time, not just after a meal.
Does shaved hair grow back darker and thicker? Researchers say it doesn’t. But shaving does give your hair a blunt tip which can make it feel thicker. When it comes to color, that new darker stubble... is just an illusion.
Some people are convinced that eating turkey leaves them feeling drowsy. It’s true that turkey has a chemical that can cause drowsiness... but so does chicken or beef. Turkey’s a favorite for those massive family celebrations, so that drowsiness... it’s probably due to the huge amount you ate!
The myth that people lose most of their body heat through their heads was probably first invented by a hat salesperson! Not surprising. Scientists say that people lose only about 10% of their body heat through their heads. You lose heat through your skin, no matter where that skin is!
Have you heard the saying that a full moon can affect your mind somehow? And... no. But, researchers believe that light from a full moon can affect your sleep, which can affect your mood.
Did ancient Vikings really wear those awesome horned helmets? There’s no real evidence to back up this claim. This myth probably came from books and music, looking to spice up their heroes a bit. If you want to see a Viking with a helmet, go to a Minnesota Vikings game. That’s about as close as you’re gonna get.
Some people think Einstein flunked Math in school. Einstein himself debunked this theory by saying he mastered Calculus at age 15! But Einstein did fail to enter the school of his choice because he flunked languages on his first try. But math, he passed with flying colors.