Facts That Will Make You Say "I Had No Idea!"

Get your brains ready for some facts that will make you say "I had no idea!"

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Eating too many carrots can turn you orange. You can taste garlic with your feet. And sharks have been around for longer than trees have. Got your attention? Good. If you’re hungry for more fascinating facts like those, just keep reading as there’s plenty more where they came from!

To find out why a good night’s sleep will instantly make you taller, or the reason you should never eat banana flavored candy near a beehive, be prepared to be blown away by some of the most incredible facts that’ll make you say “I had no idea”!

Strawberries Aren't Berries

Often, the most interesting facts are the ones that subvert our expectations. And with that in mind, you might be surprised to learn that strawberries are not technically berries. The truth is, a "berry" is a very specific classification. Not only must it have an outer skin and fleshy center, AKA an exocarp and mesocarp, but internalized seeds too.

Characteristics of a Berry

Meaning, by that botanical definition, strawberries, which have external seeds, along with raspberries and blackberries, which are actually densely packed collections of dozens of smaller fruits, have been lying to us this whole time!

But the real question is, what fruits are berries? Not only are blueberries and cranberries the real deal, but watermelons, grapes, eggplants, and even bananas are berries too! It turns out that your whole life has been a berry big lie!

Oranges Aren't Always Orange

In other fruity deceptions, did you know that despite their name, oranges aren’t always orange? It certainly seems contradictory to the meaning of the word orange, seeing as how in English the color was, in fact, named after the fruit.

Orange derives from the ancient Sanskrit word, "naranga" which referred to the orange tree specifically, but strangely, oranges can, on occasion, actually be green. Oranges contain chlorophyll, a green pigmented chemical which they use during photosynthesis, and the amount of chlorophyll in an orange’s skin is directly related to the amount and intensity of sun light an orange is exposed to.

In particularly hot climates, they’ll produce excess chlorophyll as sun protection, allowing them to redistribute sunlight’s energy to avoid sun damage and dehydration, and causing the orange to become a shade of green. Not only are those green oranges safe to eat, but they’re said to be even sweeter, despite the misconception that they might have gone bad.

Green Orange Sliced

Yoda And Miss Piggy Share A Voice Actor

We all know that Kermit is infamously romantically involved with Hollywood’s hottest puppet, Miss Piggy. But did you know that beneath Piggy’s voluminous blonde blowout and turned up snout is actually none other than, Yoda?

Admittedly, that might be a slight exaggeration. Frank Oz is an actor, director, and the original puppeteer behind not only Miss Piggy, but Yoda too. And while you may think the two characters couldn’t be more different, it seems Frank’s voice didn’t deviate too much between them.

Check this video clip of Yoda first:

Watch on YouTube

And now Miss Piggy's clip:

Watch on YouTube

Shift Miss Piggy down an octave or so, and you’ve pretty much got Yoda, all courtesy of the talent Mr Oz, a voice that is both cosmically wise and capable of doing a piggified. Oddly enough though, it’s not just Miss Piggy that Yoda shares part of his existence with. The man responsible for Yoda’s design, Stuart Freeborn, modelled Yoda on his own appearance.

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But he also took inspiration from one of the world’s greatest intellects too. And that person was the great Einstein, on account of his wisdom and intelligence. And while we wouldn’t want to liken Einstein to a little green man, you have to admit, there’s certainly a resemblance.

Children Of Twins Study

Did you know that when identical twins go out into the world and reproduce with their significant others, the twins’ respective children are not only cousins, but they can also technically, at least in the genetic sense, be siblings!

Identical twins can produce children with similar DNA

Admittedly that odd outcome does require a very specific scenario. Let’s say that 2 identical twin sisters get into relationships with 2 identical twin brothers. Since all identical twins share 100% of the same DNA, the couples’ resulting children would genetically be siblings.

You Can Taste Garlic With Your Feet

You probably didn’t know you can taste garlic with your bare feet! Thanks to allicin, the chemical responsible for garlic’s pungent odor, rubbing a clove of garlic on your feet will result in the flavor of garlic passing through your skin, entering the bloodstream, and eventually causing the taste of garlic in your mouth.

You can taste garlic with your feet

Which of course is pretty mind blowing, but also perhaps the most useless fact ever. But good to know that wearing shoes filled with garlic definitely won’t keep your breath fresh, in case your crazy old aunt tries telling you it will. Either way, it’s clear the body is capable of a lot of impressive things.

For instance, we’re told to eat a varied and nutritious diet, but did you know it’s technically possible for you to survive solely on just potatoes and butter? According to Katherine Basbaum, a cardiovascular dietitian, while she strongly advises against it, there are a sufficient amount of macronutrients in potatoes and butter to allow the body to perform at a, quote, basic level. Needless to say, you probably shouldn’t be indulging in a diet of just buttery potatoes.

If You Eat Too Many Carrots, Your Skin Will Turn Orange

According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, if you chomp down on more than 5 large carrots a day for several weeks, your skin will gradually turn a shade of orange!

Understandably, it sounds like the whimsies of a cartoon. But thanks to the increased orange pigmented beta carotene in your blood, which then gets stored under your skin, you can actually develop a condition known as carotenemia, where your skin turns slightly orange.

Carotenemia Before and After treatment

Interesting Digestion Facts

What you eat usually determines how often you’ll pass gas. The average tooter toots around 15 toots a day, with some even doing as many as 40. To put that into perspective, in just one day, on average you will fart out enough gas to fill up an entire balloon and about 20 balloons if you’ve had a Taco Bell!

With a churning gut in mind, did you know that your stomach acid is so potent that it can actually dissolve metal? Primarily, stomach acid consists of hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes which, with prolonged exposure, are literally capable of breaking down metals. Worse yet, if stomach acid were to come into contact with your skin, it would almost instantaneously cause chemical burns!

You might be be wondering at this point that, if stomach acid is so strong, then how is it contained within the stomach without causing damage? For that we can thank the epithelial cells lining the stomach walls.

Those little heroes constantly produce a thick layer of mucus that acts as a protective barrier between the stomach and its acid. Alongside regular secretions of bicarbonate, which helps neutralize the acid, that ultimate team keeps your body from becoming its own dinner!

Epithelial Cell Layer in Stomach

Your Mattress Gain Weight Over Time

By some estimations, over the course of 10 years, your mattress may increase in weight by anywhere between 10 and 100 percent due to accumulating bodily debris. As gross as it sounds, it’s not all that hard to believe when you consider your mattress essentially soaks up sweat, dead skin cells, dandruff, mold, and even mites.

Mattresses gain weight over time

Teratomas Are Tumors With Hair And Teeth

They’re a rare type of tumors, which can grow bones, hair, and even teeth by themselves! Terrifyingly, there have even been cases of teratomas containing brain matter and eyeball tissue, despite being located nowhere near the person’s head!

teratomas

The exact cause of teratomas isn’t fully understood, though they’re thought to occur due to defects in the types of cells found in embryos that change form to suit different purposes.

Those cells are ordinarily used by the embryo to form fat, muscles, teeth, nails, hair, and so on, hence why teratomas are able to grow their own. Those bizarre tumors are not necessarily always cancerous, but the thought of a hairy toothed teratoma lurking around your body is disturbing nonetheless!

You Are Taller In The Morning

You’ll be pleased to know that there some body facts that aren’t quite so unsettling as teratomas. For example, did you know you’re actually taller in the morning than you are in the evening?

Humans are taller in the morning

It’s a very slight difference, however, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ankit Batra claims that we have gravity to thank for that. Throughout the day, gravity slowly takes a toll on the spine as it compresses its disks. By the day’s end, your spine will have compressed enough that you’ll actually appear slightly shorter, typically by about half an inch.

But don’t panic, while you sleep, your rested body will allow your spine to decompress, meaning you can rise and shine at your very tallest! Similar to that, your body also has some wonderful length related synchronicities.

For instance, if you hold your arms apart, the total length spanning from your left to right fingertips is roughly equal to your overall height. So, if you’re 6 foot 11, then your wingspan should measure around 6 foot 11 as well. Similarly, you’ll find that your foot size is about the same length as your forearm.

Octopus Has Three Hearts And Nine Brains

Our soft bodied buddies in the cephalopod world, octopuses, not only have 8 arms or rather, tentacles, but 9 brains too! In addition to one big central brain, they essentially have a mini brain in each of their 8 tentacles, which allows the tentacles to behave autonomously, as they touch, taste, and move without specific control from the central brain.

octopus internal organs

In addition to that, they have not 1, not 2, but 3 hearts! One of them pumps blood around the body, while the other two pump blood to their gills. Their blood is also blue, thanks to a protein called hemocyanin, which contains copper as opposed to the iron found in mammal blood.

And while octopuses might have 9 brains, did you know that our one human brain isn’t even fully developed until the age of 25? The thing is, brain development begins from the back and works forward, meaning the frontal lobes are the last to develop. As a result, under 25s may be less skilled at the planning and reasoning that area is responsible for.

Giraffes Drink Pee

Did you know that giraffes drink each other’s urine? Specifically, the males drink the urine of females. Even though it sounds gross, it actually serves a purpose in the species’ survival.

Essentially, an interested male will purposely headbutt the female’s bladder to encourage her pee. After having a tipple of the tinkle, he’ll then be able to determine whether or not she’s ovulating. If the pee’s got that extra kick to it, then it’s time to mate.

Male Giraffes tase female urine to know if their ovulating

Interesting Animal Facts

Did you know, that cow’s actually have no top teeth at the front of their mouths. Instead, what appears to be just squidgy gums is actually a tough dental pad that allows for some serious grass grinding action, ready to send the mushed material back to the molars!

And speaking of animal teeth, if you had to guess, how much do you reckon an elephant tooth weighs? For context, a human tooth can weigh up to around 2.28 grams. Which is pretty puny when you consider that an elephant tooth can weigh in at a beastly 9 pounds! That’s heavier than a typical newborn human baby.

While elephants might be the largest land animals, the world’s largest animal is, of course, the blue whale. As a matter of fact, that creature is so hefty that some of its arteries are big enough for a small child to wiggle through, with the aorta being 9 inches wide. That’s pretty mindboggling when you look at your own veins and consider how tiny they are!

Sticking to the theme of sizeable animals, you probably didn’t know that penguins actually used to be taller than humans! An extinct breed of penguin that lived around 37 million years ago, named the Colossus penguin, is believed to have stood at a mighty 7 feet tall! By comparison, today’s tallest penguin, the Emperor, peaks at just over 4 feet.

Colossus Penguin vs Modern Penguin

Sharks Are Olden Than Trees

One animal which has certainly triumphed over the elimination risk is the shark. As a matter of fact, sharks are actually older than trees! While that seems unfathomable, according to London’s Natural History Museum, the earliest shark fossil dates back to 450 million years ago.

Compare that with trees, which are thought to have emerged 380 million years ago, and you can see how sharks really are the original gangster. While trees aren’t quite as old as sharks, they are older than rot. It means that until around 300 million years ago, the organisms that decompose wood hadn’t yet evolved, meaning that when trees died, they didn’t rot.

Instead, they would simply remain lying where they fell, eventually being compressed into the ground where they would be pressurized for millions of years, resulting in the formation of coal.

When that age of non decaying trees came to an end, it meant most trees would rot away before they could form coal. That’s why coal is a non renewable energy source today, as the vast majority of it was formed during that decay less golden age!

Interesting Gold Facts

Naturally, coal isn’t the only precious thing to be found inside the Earth, our home planet is full of gold! It’s estimated that 99% of the gold atoms on earth are actually lurking inside the Earth’s core, having been pulled in way back when the Earth’s surface was still molten magma.

Golden Nuggets mining

What’s more, there’s so much gold in there that there’s actually enough to cover the entire surface of the Earth in 1.5 feet with that! Imagine covering the world knee-deep in gold, that’d really show the aliens how we do things here on Earth.

Facts That Will Put Your Existence Into Perspective

We currently live closer in time to the tyrannosaurus rex than the tyrannosaurus rex did to the stegosaurus. Only 65 million years separate us from the t-rex, while 83 million years separated the t-rex from the stegosaurus.

Even weirder than that, trilobites, which are an extinct group of marine arthropods, not only existed before dinosaurs, but had gone extinct and even fossilized by the time dinosaurs showed up!

Trilobita Diversity

Considering that humans have only been around some 300,000 years and we’ll each live for about 77.2 years on average, it really proves how cosmically insignificant we all are.

In fact, if all the empty space inside the atoms that make us up was suddenly removed, we’d each be able to fit into a particle of dust. More shockingly, the entire human race would form the size of about a sugar cube!

Outer Space Is Only An Hour Away

If it was possible for cars to drive upwards into the sky, how long do you think it’d take to reach outer space? You might assume it’d take forever, but considering space begins only around 60 miles up, at a consistent speed of just 60 miles per hour, you’d reach outer space in 1 speedy hour!

If you compare that with the fact that a typical commercial flight travels at a speed of around 500 miles per hour and takes more than 5 hours to get from L.A. to New York, a holiday in outer space doesn’t seem all that far away.

Hiring Ambulances To Beat Traffic In Russia

In Russia, rich people have been known to hire out fake ambulances, or rather, ambulance taxis. According to Insider, wealthy Moscow residents have been known to hire those siren blasting ambulance replicas for $200 an hour, as a way to pass right through traffic. While unethical, and of course illegal, there’s no denying that crafty idea is the perfect crime! Who’s going to stop and question an ambulance when it could well be tending to an emergency?

Ambulance Taxi in Russia

Sumo Wrestles Make Babies Cry In Japanese Festival

Our next topic is situated over in Japan, where we find ‘The Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival’. The 400 year strong annual tradition sees Sumo wrestlers holding random people’s babies and trying to make them cry.

As bizarre as that sounds, the traditional belief is that if the Sumo can make the baby cry, then the baby’s cries will ward off evil spirits and demons, therefore meaning it’ll grow to be healthy and strong.

Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival Sensoji Asakusa

Lincoln The Wrestler And Pope Francis The Bouncer

Speaking of wrestlers, I bet you didn’t know that Abraham Lincoln was actually an elite wrestling champion before becoming president. Not quite in the WWE sense, but nevertheless a wrestler. In fact, over 12 years, Lincoln reportedly amassed over 300 victories and lost only one match!

Another world leader with quite the unorthodox background is Pope Francis. It’s hard to imagine the Pope leading a normal life, however, the now 86 year old actually revealed that back in his native country of Argentina, he used to work as a bouncer!

Of course, that was likely in his youth, so we’ll currently have to depend on photoshop for images of the pope-meister working the door. But still, it’s pretty hilarious to think that the head of the Catholic Church was once asking for people’s IDs and breaking up drunken scuffles.

Why Do We Raise A Toast?

Do you know why we say the phrase raise a toast? It’s actually said to date back to the ancient Romans, and is way more literal than you may think. Back in their day, the wine Romans drank was often poor quality.

So, folks would regularly toss a chunk of toasted bread into it to soak up some of the bitter sediments and make it more palatable, meaning they would quite literally raise a toast when there was something to raise a drink to!

Flight Attendant Secrets Tea, Coffee or Champagne

How Many Photos Are Taken Every Day?

Something else that’s pretty astonishing to think about is that, today, every two minutes there are more photos taken than in the entire 19th century. Of course, cameras were new and hard to use back then and people didn’t have one in their pocket at all times like we do nowadays. Even so, it’s estimated that an astounding 5 billion photos are taken every day now.

Gary Kremen Lost His Girlfriend To His Own Dating App

Gary Kremen is the founder of the popular online dating site, Match.com. But in an extremely unlucky, yet incredibly ironic twist of fate, Gary lost his own girlfriend to a guy she met on Match dot com!

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You might be thinking Gary was heartbroken and cursed the day he ever created Match dot com, but that’s where you’d be wrong. He was actually rather pleased! Yes, despite losing the woman you’d assume to be the love of his life, Gary looked on the bright side and considered the whole ordeal to be a testament to his business. Some people really are married to their work.

The Father Of The Frisbee Turned His Ashes Into A Frisbee

Ed Headrick, often referred to as the ‘father of the frisbee’, had a dying wish for his ash remains to be made into a frisbee. Rather disturbingly, his hope was that his family would gleefully play with him and toss him around the park, and indeed his wish was ultimately granted.

Talk about a "work hard, play hard" attitude, it’s the magical modern fairytale of the man who turned into a frisbee.

Ed Headrick with his two whippets

Owls Keep Snakes As Pets

Weirdly, the Texas Screech Owl has been observed numerous times taking Blind Snakes home to their nests. Not to eat, however, but to keep alive as something like a pet, which seems to be for the purpose of eating small bugs and parasites that make their way in. It seems strange a skilled predator, such as an owl, would show mercy to the Blind Snake.

Blind Snake or Ramphotyphlops Braminus

Baby Elephants Can Laugh

Perhaps the most adorable fact ever is that baby elephants can laugh. As a species, elephants frequently engage in playful behavior with one another, and it’s been observed that when doing so, baby elephants may produce a specific sound we’d liken to laughter.

And not just elephants either, but rats too! Lab scientists have found that when engaging in rough play or even being tickled, rats will let out a little giggle; a specific, high pitched squeak which isn’t emitted in any other circumstances except joyful and playful moments.

The Smell Of Fresh Cut Grass Is Grass Screaming

Moving onto something less adorable, the smell of freshly cut grass is actually just the grass screaming in distress as a result of essentially being decapitated. While not literally screaming in an audible way, but the plant equivalent of screaming.

Grasses scream when cut

The scent of cut grass comes from organic compounds known as green leaf volatiles, which grasses release as an announcement that they’re under attack. That allows neighboring parts of the plant network to start acting accordingly. Some of those compounds stimulate the formation of new cells, or act as antibiotics against bacteria or fungi at the wound site.

Why does freshly cut grass smell so good? green leaf volatiles

Fascinatingly, when some non grass species of plants experience similar damage when nibbled by little critters, they emit pheromones that can attract predatory insects to eat the smaller bugs that typically try to eat the plants! It’s basically the plant equivalent of a dinner bell!

In other plant pheromone fact news, there’s a chemical compound found in bananas and banana flavored candy, known as isoamyl acetate, that is also used in a pheromone that honeybees use as an attack signal. Meaning that if you go near a beehive whilst chomping on a banana, it will quite literally send the bees bananas!

Honeybees perceive isoamyl acetate as an attack signal

If you look at a map, it initially seems like the US and Russia are pretty far apart. However, remembering that the earth is spherical, it turns out Russia is actually only 2.4 miles away from the US. It comes down to America’s little Canada adjacent home away from home, Alaska.

Crazy Geography Facts

Between Russia and Alaska there are 2 islands in the Bering Strait, known as the Diomede Islands, one of which is owned by Russia and the other owned by the US. At their narrowest point, the islands are separated by only 2 miles of water! Who’d have thought that Russia and the US were such close neighbors?

In other crazy geographical news, America’s Appalachian mountains, the Scottish Highlands, and North Africa’s Atlas mountains are actually originally all from the same mountain range. That mind bending fact is possible because millions and millions of years ago, before human or even dinosaur life existed, Earth was home to one enormous super continent named ‘Pangaea’.

Pangaea continent

Much of our understanding of that emerges from the fact that a lot of the continents, such as South America and Africa, seem to effortlessly fit together, as well as the distribution of similar fossilized remains across those connecting regions.

Over the millennia, Pangaea gradually split apart, as a result of tectonic plate movement, with vast tracts being submerged underwater. But, at one time, the mountains found in the Appalachians, Scottish Highlands, and the Atlas mountains were indeed all connected as one landmass.

While we’re in the Scottish Highlands, let’s head south to England a moment for a surprising language factoid. Did you know that England isn’t even in the top 5 list of countries with citizens who speak English by population?

As a result of the British Empire, ex-colonies with larger populations actually top the list, namely the USA, India, Pakistan, The Philippines, and Nigeria. England meanwhile, are slacking behind in 6th place.

The Meaning Of The Olympic Rings

Did you know that the colors of the Olympic rings were selected very specifically? They’re blue, yellow, black, green, and red. Reason being that at least one of those colors, including the white background of the flag, features on every one of the flags of the participating nations.

Olympic flag, the Olympic rings

Not only that, but the 5 rings also represent the 5 inhabited continental landmasses, Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, meaning the Olympic flag basically represents the whole world!

Why Maple Syrup Bottles Have Tiny Handles

While the tiny little ant handle might seem useless now, it actually derives from a time when maple syrup came in huge 5 pound ceramic bottles and therefore needed handles to be carried. As maple syrup transitioned into being stored in smaller glass bottles, the handle was retained as a nod to the classic maple syrup containers, albeit much, much smaller.

Maple Syrup Bottle Tiny Handle

You Can Hear Death

Here’s a not so fun fact about death. Slightly unnervingly, when you die, it’s believed that your hearing is the last sense to go. In a 2020 study, researchers found that actively dying’ patients’ brains, where most functions had ceased, were still active in response to sound.

People's sense of hearing is the last to lose after death

Can you imagine what that must be like? The lights going out, the senses of touch, taste and smell departing you, leaving you only with the fading sounds of what’s around you. It’s a pretty eerie thought!

And off course, there’s a big difference between ‘hearing’ sounds and actually understanding them, so it’s unclear whether dying people can make sense of the sounds around them in their last moments.

If you were amazed at these curious facts, you might want to explore more fun facts! Thanks for reading.

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