10 Questions That’ve Haunted Us Since We Were Kids, and Scientists Finally Have the Answers
Many people are interested in the age-old questions, like which appeared first — the chicken or the egg, what color is a zebra, what are the spots that appear in our eyes when we look at light, and why do cats just stare at nothing. But few people know that science has already answered these questions.
We at Bright Side know that you are interested in the answer to these questions. Who would have thought that the answers are this simple?
Which appeared first — the chicken or the egg?
It took scientists a long time to figure out which came first — the egg or the ancient animal (the ancestor of the chicken), and the answer has been found. According to Darwin and the modern biologists, the egg came first. The thing is, the species that had been developing into a chicken for thousands of years couldn’t just appear out of nowhere: the start of life happens in the egg.
Over time, the ancient bird “transformed” into the chicken we know. These changes happened in the egg at the embryo stage. An egg gave us a chicken that made a new chicken egg after that.
So, the egg of the ancient bird appeared before the bird itself and the egg with a chicken appeared before the first chick hatched.
What are the spots that appear when we look at bright light?
These are so-called “blind spots.” When a bright light shines into our eyes, the photoreceptors of the retina get temporarily overstressed. So, for a short time, they can’t react to anything else and after they get back to a normal state, the spots show us the light we were supposed to see.
Scientists recommend closing one eye when we enter a lit room from a dark room. This way, you will prepare your eyes for bright sunlight and the blind spots will disappear quickly. It’s believed that this is the reason why pirates wore eye patches.
Are zebras black or white?
In fact, zebras are black horses with white stripes. The stripes appear thanks to a genetic process called selective pigmentation. The black color is the basic pigment and white stripes appear where there’s an absence of the black color.
By the way, British scientists found out why zebras need this color. According to their studies, the black and white stripes attract fewer horseflies. In the past, biologists theorized that the stripes were there to scare predators away, but they found no proof.
Why do cats often stare at nothing?
Some people believe that cats often stare at nothing because they can see ghosts. But in fact, if their cute pet just keeps looking in front of itself, it’s just preparing for sleep. These animals spend most of their time sleeping.
And if a cat is staring to the side, this is probably because it heard a sound or smelled something that we can’t smell. Cats’ senses are far superior than humans’. So cats just freeze, waiting for the sound or movement to repeat.
How does a chameleon change color?
A chameleon’s skin has chromatophore-cells that contain different pigments. The cells are big enough for all the pigments to be evenly spread out. So, when a chameleon needs to change color, the parts of these cells just squeeze and the colors get pushed into the center of the cell.
Interestingly, the shades of black, brown, red, and yellow are created by chromatophores that are located in the outer layer of their skin and the blue color is hidden in the deeper layers.
Why do we sometimes look very similar to one of our ancestors?
Human genes can be dominant (strong) and recessive (weak). If, for example, 2 brown-eyed parents give birth to a blue-eyed child, there is nothing extraordinary about that. It only means that the parents have the recessive gene for blue eyes.
And if we look a lot like some of our distant relatives, it means that in the past generations, these genes lost the battle to dominant genes, and now they have become dominant.
By the way, it is often the case that in one family, one of the children looks like their mother and the other one like their father. This proves that brothers and sisters can receive a different combination of genes.
Why do we sometimes feel better when we sleep less and vice versa?
Well, the way you feel right after you wake up depends on many factors, and some have nothing to do with how many hours of sleep you got. If you ate bad food, drank a lot of coffee or energetic drinks, didn’t drink enough water, or didn’t get enough physical activity, you can feel tired after sleep even if you slept a lot.
Also, a long sleep will not help you get enough rest if you go to bed too late. The body can’t start synthesizing melatonin in time, which can lead to different kinds of problems. The best time to go to sleep is before midnight or at the same time every night (the deviation should not be more than one hour). By the way, playing sports or being active can ensure that you feel great, even if you got less than 8 hours of sleep.
You can also get tired if you take a long nap. If you want to rest during the day, you should go to sleep between 1 pm to 3 pm and not for more than 30 minutes — this way, you can restore your energy. If you sleep longer, it’s harmful because it is much harder to wake up after the deep phase of sleep. This is why we feel tired even after a long sleep during the day.
Why does time seem to go by faster when we get older?
According to American scientists, the perception of time is very subjective and it fully depends on the speed of the brain function. During the younger years, the brain receives and processes information fast, so we’re under the impression that time is slow. But when we are older, the brain takes much more time to process everything around it, so it seems that time flies.
French philosopher Paul Janet was sure that our subjective perception of time is based on comparison: we compare the duration of a month or a year to the duration of our life.
In order to lose the sense that time is going by too fast, psychologists recommend meditating, trying new things, traveling, keeping a diary, and meeting new people.
Why do we sometimes experience the Deja-vu effect?
Deja-vu is the sensation that something has already happened to us, we’ve already seen this picture, or have already been in this room. Freud thought that this was a trace of a forgotten traumatizing experience or a very deep desire.
Modern neuroscientists think that this is a short-term dysfunction in several regions of the brain caused by stress, fatigue, or intoxication. The brain gets confused and treats new impressions as old ones. Aside from that, a situation can seem familiar when it reminds us of some events that are stored in our memory.
And if you experience the Deja-vu effect often, you should see a doctor, because it might indicate a serious health condition.
How do we laugh?
Scientists believe that laughter appeared 2-3 million years ago and it looked like fast short exhales. When we laugh, 80 facial muscles take part in this process. Laughter is a motor function that is induced by several regions of the brain. It consists of several components: the contraction of the diaphragm and vocalization, and also the feeling of happiness and the feeling of “I get the joke.”
Laughter can also be caused by other emotions, like terror and fear. But there is a reason why people say that laughter makes your life longer, according to scientists, 15 minutes of laughter can burn as many calories as there are in the average chocolate bar.
Laughter also improves our creative abilities, helps us to treat asthma and bronchitis, and even has a positive effect on how people with cancer feel.
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Are there any other questions you can’t find the answers to?