19 Astonishing Facts That Seem Fake at First Glance
Being a scientist is fun, conducting new experiments every day, some of them totally crazy — like counting all the ants on Earth, asking a dolphin to speak on the phone, or watching butterflies in an earthquake.
We at Bright Side know that such experiments can prove incredible facts, so we chose those we considered the best to share with you.
Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
The first students came to Oxford in 1096, while the Aztec city-state of Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325. That means the university is 200 years older.
When we promise something, we make a "pinky promise." This means the one who breaks the vow must cut off their little finger.
The gesture originally came from Japan. When making a promise, children link their little fingers and say a certain vow, different in every culture.
But in fact, during the Edo period (1603–1868), bandit clans had a ritual of cutting off their right little fingers to prove their loyalty. It was only much later that kids turned this tradition into a game.
Jupiter and Saturn have diamond rains.
These two gas giants have real skies of diamonds. Scientists say the pressure inside the giant planets can easily turn carbon into diamonds.
First, lightning transforms methane into carbon, which hardens as it falls down, turning into chunks of graphite after 1,600 km and then into diamonds after an additional 6,000 km.
There are more than 1.6M ants per person on Earth.
Myrmecologists worldwide made an estimate that there are 1-10 quadrillion ants living on Earth now. That means there are more than 1 million of these insects for each human, and their total mass is about the same as that of mankind.
There are more artificial flamingos in the world than there are live ones.
The flamingo is a rare bird, but it’s so beautiful that many people would like to see it in their backyard. That’s why there are several times more artificial flamingos worldwide than there are live ones: the latter are counted at 2-3 million, while the number of their plastic counterparts reaches almost 1 billion.
The strawberry is not a berry.
As a matter of fact, the "berry" of the strawberry isn’t at all its fruit. It’s just an overgrown receptacle that carries the true fruit on it — that’s right, the green and white seeds. You’ll probably need some time to get used to this.
Bananas, though, are berries.
The world has done a barrel roll now. The banana plant is, in fact, giant grass, and bananas are its berries. According to the definition, a berry is a "soft and juicy fruit containing several seeds." Well, bananas are just that.
Pyrosome — a hollow 100-foot worm living in the ocean
This creature is called a sea unicorn. They’re so rare that they’ve only been seen a few times. A pyrosome looks like a giant transparent and hollow worm, but it actually consists of thousands of organisms that glow in the dark and replicate themselves. They are believed to be able to grow to the size of a blue whale.
Mithridates VI couldn’t poison himself because he was immune to poisons.
Mithridates VI of Pontus had been taking small doses of various poisons since childhood to work up an immunity to them. During the riot, the Romans wanted to take him hostage, and Mithridates tried to poison himself but couldn’t because of his training. Oh, the irony!
If we lived in complete darkness, we would be able to stay up for 36 hours and would need 12 hours to get rested.
How many hours would a day last for a person who can’t tell the time of day by external signs?
French speleologist Michel Siffre carried out several experiments on the matter, including one from 1964 to 1972. He placed himself in a specially equipped bunker with no light, constant temperature and humidity, and absolute silence. He spent several months like this.
The results showed that his inner clock altered: he needed 36 hours awake and 12 hours of sleep. Later, he conducted similar experiments with other volunteers in a cave — with the same result.
Sources: cabinetmagazine, neuron
Our foot is as long as our forearm; our thumb is as long as our nose; our lips are as long as our index fingers.
You’ve just checked it all, haven’t you? These are standard and appropriate proportions of a human body, used by artists to paint people. They were identified by Leonardo da Vinci in his famous Vitruvian Man.
Neil Armstrong’s space suit was made at a bra factory.
Few know that the space suit of the first man on the Moon was made at a factory which produced bras and lingerie in Dover, DE. We just hope Neil felt comfortable in it.
"Gadget" was one of the first three atomic bombs.
Three atomic bombs were made as part of the Manhattan Project in 1943: the plutonium-based Gadget (exploded during the first nuclear test), the uranium-based Little Boy (dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945), and the plutonium-based Fat Man (dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945).
Ann Hodges is the only person to survive a meteorite strike.
American Ann Elizabeth Hodges was the first ever woman on Earth to survive an impact of an extraterrestrial object (November 30, 1954, near Sylacauga, AL). A grapefruit-sized meteorite fragment crashed through the roof of her house, ricocheted off a radio, and hit her while she was sleeping on a couch. Soon, Ann became quite a celebrity.
Koalas are the only animals with a unique fingerprint pattern, like humans.
Professor Maciej Henneberg from Adelaide University proved there are no differences between the fingerprints of koalas and humans. Even a microscope scanner can’t find them. So it turns out koalas are the only animal, apart from humans, that have unique fingerprint patterns.
The surface area of Russia is bigger than that of Pluto.
Russia’s surface area is 17,098,246 sq. km.; Pluto’s surface area is 16,650,000 sq. km.
The first thing every monkey does if it recognizes itself in the mirror is check its crotch.
Shanghai-based neurobiologists conducted an experiment where they seated dozens of primates before a mirror and watched their reactions to their "double." Nothing happened for a time, but when the monkeys realized they were seeing their own reflection, the first thing they did was check their crotch.
Dolphins can talk on the phone and recognize the one they’re talking to.
Every dolphin has its own signal name that appears in adolescence and is kept their whole life. It’s known that dolphins can tell their relatives’ signals from all the rest. They’re able to recognize each other with the help of short tone perception. People also recognize their opponents on the phone by voice, so if dolphins could talk on the phone, they would know each other.
You can survive a shark attack by staying still.
Trying to swim away won’t help in this situation. The correct behavior here will be to slowly move away from the shark’s path, and stay calm. Keep an eye on the shark. When it has passed by you, try to find a way out of the water. However, if you can’t and have to defend yourself, hit it on its gills, eyes, or the tip of its nose.