When you stop and think about it, you realize that the world truly is a weird place. After all, we humans paint our faces before work and wear sparkly rocks to prove our devotion to one another. Right now, there’s a tortoise living on an Atlantic isle that is 183 years old. Turducken is a thing.
However, just when you thought the world could’t get any weirder or more wonderful, these awesome facts are here to prove you wrong. And if you want more time to discover the world around you, make sure you know the 100 Ways to Live to 100.
Yawning Cools Your Brain
Research conducted at the University of Vienna suggests that yawning may play an essential role in cooling down our brains.
Penguins Used to Be 6 Feet Tall
Those tiny tuxedo birds we know and love today used to be the size of a high school linebacker. According to a 2017 report published in Nature Communications, there’s evidence that extinct Kumimanu biceae penguins once stood close to 6 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds. And for more crazy truth bombs, here are the 40 Lies Everyone Tells on a Daily Basis.
Facebook’s Blue Color Scheme is for Mark Zuckerberg’s Benefit
The Facebook founder suffers from red-green colorblindness, and blue is the color he can see best.
Picasso Was a Suspect in the Mona Lisa Theft
When da Vinci’s masterpiece was stolen in 1911, 30-year-old Pablo Picasso was questioned about its disappearance before being cleared as a suspect.
Male Monkeys Will Pay to Look at Female Monkeys
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered that male rhesus macaques will pay—that is, give up their “juice rewards”—to check out the backsides of lady macaques. True story! And for fun trivia, here are 30 Things Americans Do That Foreigners Find Super Weird.
Early Pacemakers Had Wall Plugs
According to research published in Images in Paediatric Cardiology, pacemakers in the 1950s required patients to be hooked up to wall sockets. Yes, we’ve come a long way. If you don’t believe us, check out What a “Diet” Looked Like 100 Years Ago.
Fleas Are Among the World’s Best Jumpers
Take that, Olympians! Fleas use their toes and shins to jump, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge, which accounts for why they can spring up to seven vertical inches, more than 80 times their height.
Horseshoe Crabs Have Eyes All Over Their Bodies
Horseshoe crabs have 10 eyes in total, including ones near their mouth, on the top of their shell, and down their tail. And for more mind-blowing knowledge, here are 20 Facts You Never Knew About Your Own Body.
Lenny Kravitz and Al Roker Are Cousins
While the mild-mannered weatherman and the rock star may have drastically different demeanors, they’re actually pretty closely related. Roker and Kravitz share a great-great-grandfather.
Cheese May Prevent Nightmares
According to research conducted by the British Cheese Board, no study subjects reported having nightmares after eating cheese, but blue cheese consumption had a tendency to make dreams a bit odd. And if you want to rest easy tonight, the 20 Nighttime Habits Guaranteed to Help You Sleep Better will help you hit the hay.
French Poodles Aren’t French
The French Poodle is widely believed to have first been bred in Germany, not France. In fact, the word “poodle” comes from the German word Pudelhund, a combination of words meaning “dog” and “to splash.” And if you want some incentive to bring home a dog of your own, discover the 15 Amazing Benefits of Adopting a Pet!
Night Owls Tend to Be Smarter Than Early Birds
Feel bad that you’re never well-rested enough to head out for a jog before the sun’s up? Don’t be. In fact, research published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests that night owls tend to have higher IQs than early risers.
Every Dutch Police Car Has a Teddy Bear in It
Dutch Police carry teddy bears with them on the job in case they need to help out a traumatized child.
There’s a Patron Saint for Dentists
Saint Apollonia is the patron saint of dentists and tooth problems.
Hawaiian Pizza is Canadian
That pineapple-ham concoction named after America’s most scenic state was reportedly invented in Ontario in 1962.
The World’s Longest Fingernails Measure Over Two Feet Long
Ayanna Williams, a resident of Houston, TX, hasn’t cut her fingernails in 23 years, and they now measure between 24 and 26 inches each.
A Shrimp’s Heart Is in Its Head
A shrimp exoskeleton is divided into two distinct parts: one that contains its head and the other that the latter part of its body, including the tail. The shrimp’s heart is located in the former section, behind its face and stomach.
750 Million People Tuned Into Charles and Diana’s Wedding
The 1981 wedding was watched by more than double the number of people who tuned in for the Friends, Cheers, Seinfeld, and M*A*S*H finales combined.
Three Presidents Have Died on July 4th
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all passed away on Independence Day.
A Blue Whale’s Heart is More Than 5 Feet Long
It can weigh upwards of 400 pounds.
The World’s Largest Pumpkin Weighs More Than a Sports Car
In 2016, Belgian native Mathias Willemijns set a new world record for growing the biggest pumpkin. The massive pumpkin weighed in at 2624.6 pounds—that’s 129.6 pounds more than an Alfa Romeo 4C sports car. And if you’re looking for a great ride (pumpkin-sized or not), check out our picks for the best new cars for 2018.
Barry Manilow Wrote the State Farm Jingle
In addition to co-writing hits like “Copacabana,” Barry Manilow has authored a number of famous jingles. This includes the iconic “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle and the classic, “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.” And for more great fun facts, check out the 20 slang terms from the 1970s no one uses anymore.
Mr. Clean’s Name Changes Around the Globe
In Germany, he’s Meister Proper, and in Spain, he’s Don Limpio.
Goats Have Unique Accents
Their voices may sound largely the same to humans, but goats actually have distinct accents, according to researchers at Queen Mary University.
The World’s Oldest Tortoise is Twice as Old as Queen Elizabeth
Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise living on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, is thought to be 183 years old. That makes him more than twice as old as Queen Elizabeth, who clocks in at 91. Oh, and speaking of the Queen: don’t miss the one thing no British royal will ever do.
350 Slices of Pizza Sell Every Second in America
To keep up with demand, approximately 17 percent of all American restaurants are pizzerias.
Ernest Hemingway’s Former Home is Overrun With Cats
The famed author’s former home in Key West, Florida, is home to 54 cats. Hemingway was particularly fond of polydactyl cats, and these largely make up the population at Ernest Hemingway House today. And if you’re a cat person like Papa, check out the 20 amazing facts you never knew about your favorite feline.
Otters Hold Hands
Otters like to keep close company, even in the water. Not only do otters link arms to avoid floating away from one another, the Asian small-clawed otter mates for life. And to win over your own lifetime partner, make sure you’re well-acquainted with the 20 Compliments Men Can’t Resist.
The Slinky Was Created by Accident
Inventor Richard James, a naval engineer, was trying to create a spring that could help stabilize equipment on boats in choppy waters. However, his spring’s ability to move seemingly on its own proved more interesting, and became the prototype for the Slinky in 1943. More than 300 million Slinkys have been sold since it hit the market in 1945.
Ketchup Used to Be Considered a Medicine
In the 1800s, ketchup was sold as medicine and was even made into pill form to rid people of stomach ailments.
Polar Bears Don’t Have White Skin or Fur
That white fur polar bears seem to sport is actually two layers of clear fur that appear white to the human eye. Underneath that coat, their skin is actually black.
A Sneeze Sounds Different Around the World
While people in English-speaking countries tend to say “achoo” and French-speaking countries go with the similar sounding “atchoum,” Germans say “hatschi” and the Japanese say “hakshun.” And for more great trivia, here are the 30 major city names you’re pronouncing all wrong.
Barbie Has a Full Name
Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. Ken’s full name is Kenneth Carson.
T-Mobile Owns the Color Magenta
The brand trademarked the color and a Texas judge ruled that similar colors, even with different names, can’t be used by other telecom companies.
The Spanish National Anthem Has No Lyrics
Spain’s national anthem,“Marcha Real,” or “Royal March,” doesn’t have any official lyrics. It was written as a military march, and as such, was not intended to be sung.
A Cat’s Ear Has 32 Muscles
If you’ve ever wondered how your cat seems to hear every little noise from rooms away, blame it on their highly-developed ears. A cat’s ear contains 32 muscles, some of which account for their aural aptitude, providing their ears with a wide range of motion to detect sound.
A Million Earths Would Fit Inside the Sun
If the sun were hollow, you could fit a million Earths inside it.
The Vatican’s ATMs Are in Latin
Let’s hope you were paying attention in high school if you’re going to visit the Pope.
Spotted Skunks Do Handstands
Unfortunately, this cute little dance only happens before it sprays you, so get out of there ASAP.
There’s a Town in Western New York Populated by Psychics
Lily Dale, a town an hour southwest of Buffalo, New York, has a population of just 275, virtually all of whom are psychics and other spiritualists.
Female Lions Do More Hunting Than Males
Take that, gender roles. Female lions tend to be the primary hunters in their prides, while male lions tend to enjoy the leftovers from the female lions’ hard work.
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Was Originally a Political Movie
The script the unpopular Dirty Dancing sequel was based on was originally a political romance. Written by NPR’s Peter Sagal, the original script was called Cuba Mine and told the story of the romance between a Cuban revolutionary and an American teen in the 1950s. Welcome to Hollywood, where a script for a political period piece can be transformed into a romantic dance-movie sequel.
San Francisco is Mostly Water
The 232 square miles that make up this Bay Area city are 80 percent water, 20 percent land.
Shakespeare Popularized the Name Jessica
Jessica, one of the most popular names in America for the better part of the 1980s and 1990s, was actually coined by Shakespeare. The first instance of the common spelling of this name comes from The Merchant of Venice, written by the bard in the late 1500s.
There is a Hot Pink Lake in Australia
Western Australia’s Lake Hillier has a naturally-occurring pink hue. While scientists aren’t entirely sure why this is, it’s likely that it has to do with the carotenoid pigments produced by microalgae in the water.
Stephen King Bought the Automobile That Nearly Killed Him
Prolific horror writer Stephen King laughed death in the face when he purchased the van that hit and nearly killed him. “We’ve got the van, and I’m going to take a sledgehammer and beat it!” King announced to Maine’s Bridgton News after shelling out $1500 for the car.
Chuck E. Cheese is a Nickname
Chuck E. Cheese is just your favorite anthropomorphic mouse’s nickname. His full name is Charles Entertainment Cheese.
Each Dog’s Nose Has a Unique Pattern
Your dog’s nose has a unique pattern to it, just like a human finger print.
The Color Orange Was Named After the Fruit
In contrast to popular belief, the fruit wasn’t named for its color, but the other way around. The first known use of the word “orange” to describe a color in English took place in 1512.
George Washington Was a Prolific Whiskey Maker
America’s first president was quite adept at making whiskey. In fact, his distillery at Mount Vernon produced close to 11,000 gallons of the stuff. The site of the former distillery now makes small-batch whiskeys. If whiskey isn’t your preferred method of relaxation, try a trip to one of these amazingly zen travel destinations instead.
New York’s Washington Square Park is a Former Graveyard
As you sit on that bench, sipping your coffee and trying to avoid NYU students, more than 20,000 bodies are underneath your feet.
There’s an Opposite of Deja Vu
Called “jamais vu,” this phenomenon describes when you know something has happened before, but it seems unfamiliar.
Selfies Kill More People Than Sharks
According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been just 439 fatal shark attacks worldwide since 1958. That’s just 7.5 shark-related deaths per year. However, in India alone, 27 people perished from selfie-related causes in 2015.
There Are Seven U.S. Towns Named After Santa
There’s a town named Santa Claus in Arizona, Georgia, and Indiana, and ones named Saint Nicholas in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
There Are Over a Million Ants For Every Person on Earth
Human count: 7.4 billion. Ant count: 10,000 trillion. Guard your picnic well.
Andrew Jackson Owned a Lewd Parrot
President Andrew Jackson taught his pet parrot to curse. The bird was later kicked out of the former president’s funeral for swearing during the service, according to one Jackson biographer.
Christmas with the Kranks Was Written by a Famous Author
Best known for his legal thrillers, author John Grisham also wrote Skipping Christmas, a novel that served as the basis for Tim Allen holiday comedy Christmas with the Kranks. Sadly, it’s one of the 13 Worst Christmas Films of All Time.
Snail Teeth Are Hardest Natural Material
The teeth of limpets, a type of aquatic snail, can withstand more pressure than it takes to create diamonds from carbon.
Elephants Bury Their Dead
While sad to imagine, elephants are among the few animals that bury their dead. After a member of their pack dies, elephants not only cry, but create graves for their dead and cover their bodies with leaves.
Purdue University Created a Licking Machine to Finish Tootsie Pops
If you’ve ever wanted to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop without having to eat one, Purdue University researchers have done the hard work for you. It took the machine 364 licks, while human volunteers got to the center in just 252.
A British Man Created an All-Lego House
James May created a two-story house made entirely of Legos on the Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey, Great Britain. It took 3.2 million tiny plastic bricks to build.
A Cat Served as the Mayor of an Alaska Town
Stubbs, an orange cat, was the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for 20 years. Stubbs served until his death in 2017.
Champagne Was Once Used as Shoe Polish
In the early 20th century, men of society eschewed traditional polish, using champagne to shine their shoes instead. In fact, Olga Berluti, a high-end shoe designer whose company is owned by the LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) umbrella, still uses Dom Perignon to polish her famed shoes.
Astronauts Celebrate Christmas in Space
Not only do astronauts aboard the International Space Station get the day off for Christmas, they also have presents delivered to them in space. Astronauts spend the day eating together and unwrapping gifts, and some even dress up for the occasion.
The Pacific Ocean Houses a Mysterious Singing Whale
Known as The Loneliest Whale, this whale sings at a significantly higher pitch than any other blue whale ever discovered. While he’s never been seen, researchers think his strange songs may be keeping him from finding a mate.
Darth Vader Never Says “Luke, I Am Your Father”
While often misquoted, the Star Wars villain actually utters the phrase, “No, I am your father” in The Empire Strikes Back. Before you put your supposed movie knowledge to use, make sure you know these famous movie quotes.
Bulls Can’t See Red
Although the bright red color of a matador’s cape may seem to be what angers the bull, the animal can’t actually discern its hue. Cows—bulls included—are generally red-green colorblind; it’s the motion of the swinging fabric that incenses them enough to charge.
Hairiness is Correlated With a Higher I.Q.
Don’t sweat that fuzzy back; one study reveals that Mensa members with more body hair also happened to have the highest I.Q.s.
The Creator of the Pringles Can is Buried in One
The ashes of Fredric Baur, who created the iconic Pringles can in 1966, found his eternal resting place in one when he died in 2008.
There’s an Island in Japan Almost Entirely Populated by Bunnies
Ōkunoshima, also known as Rabbit Island, is a Japanese island that is predominantly populated by rabbits. Formerly the home of a WWII-era poison gas factory, the island is no overrun with adorable rabbits, and has become a major tourist destination. Before you book your trip to this bunny paradise, make sure you know these travel hacks that will make your journey even better.
Avocados Don’t Ripen on Trees
If you want to get that perfect-for-guacamole texture, they have to be plucked first.
There’s Only One Flying Mammal in the World
The bat is the only mammal that can actually fly. Other animals that give the appearance of flying, like flying squirrels, are just gliding through the air, albeit up to 660 feet at a time. Luckily, while we’ve still got plenty of bats on earth, these 20 Animals Are Tragically Near Extinction.
You’re Most Likely to Die on Your Birthday
According to research published in the Annals of Epidemiology, people over 60 have a 14 percent higher chance of dying on their birthday than any other day.
Your Dog Is as Smart as Your Toddler
According to the American Psychological Association, dogs are approximately as intelligent as your average two-year-old, and can understand more than 150 words. Funnier yet, they can deceive people and other animals when they want a treat.
Google Was Nearly Called BackRub
However, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin eventually settled on Google, a misspelling of the word “googol,” a term for 10 to the hundredth power.
If you play music for a turkey, it might just sing along with it. Many turkeys will gobble along to music if it’s played for them.
Pizza Hut Used to Buy More Kale Than Anyone in the U.S.
Back when Pizza Hut had salad bars, the chain was the largest purchaser of kale in the United States. However, that kale wasn’t making it into salad: it was just used to spruce up the look of the salad bar.
Cell Phones Are Illegal in One West Virginia Town
In Green Bank, West Virginia, no wireless signals are allowed, because they could interfere with the operation of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s radio telescope.
Oysters Can Change Sexes
Oysters that were initially male can become female over time.
Waffle House Informs FEMA Decisions
Although it’s not an official metric, FEMA gets information from Waffle House about their menus and closings to determine the severity of storms.
There’s a Flower Shop in the White House
There’s a flower shop in the basement of the White House, where flowers are stored for use in arrangements throughout the building. Want to learn more about where the president lives? Discover these 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About the White House!
The First 3D Film Was Shown in 1922
The first 3D film, called The Power of Love, had its premier at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel Theater on September 27, 1922.
Ostriches Can Outrun Horses
Ostriches’ elastic tendons mean they have to exert less energy to run than your average animal. According to research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, this low energy expenditure theoretically means they could outrun many animals capable of running long distances, like horses.
Robert Downey, Jr. Used to Be Mr. Peanut’s Voice
When the Planters mascot got a makeover in 2010, Iron Man himself was behind his voice.
Canada Has an Indoor Town
Fermont, Canada, is so cold in the winter, it’s built so that residents never have to go outside during the seven months when temperatures dip below freezing. Homes, restaurants, supermarkets, stores, schools, a health center, bars, and a hotel are all contained in a series of interconnected structures.
Queen Elizabeth Was a Mechanic
Near the end of World War II, Queen Elizabeth worked as a truck mechanic.
Owls Have Three Sets of Eyelids
Owls have three sets of lids to cover their eyes. One is used when blinking, another for sleeping, and a third, called the nictitating membrane, to clean the surface of the eye.
Béla Lugosi Was Buried in His Dracula Costume
When actor Béla Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of Count Dracula, died in 1956, he was buried in his vampire costume.
The World’s Largest Teddy Bear Collection Numbers More Than 8,000
South Dakota resident Jackie Miley has 8,026 teddy bears living with her. That’s one for every nine people living in her native Rapid City.
Two of John Tyler’s Grandsons Are Still Alive
Although President John Tyler was born more in 1790, two of his grandsons were still alive as of 2012.
Cockroaches Can Survive Decapitation
That rumor about cockroaches being the sole survivors at the end of the world might not be so far off. In fact, cockroaches can often stay alive even after their heads have been cut off.
President Obama is a Grammy Winner
Former president Barack Obama has two Grammys, one for his spoken word album, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming the American Dream, and one for Dreams From My Father.
Ancient Philosopher Chrysippus Died From Laughter
Chrysippus of Soli, a Greek philosopher, is rumored to have died while laughing at a donkey eating figs.
Dolly Parton Lost a Dolly Parton Lookalike Contest
Dolly Parton entered herself into a Dolly Parton lookalike contest for drag queens and didn’t even win first place.
Spiders Can Regrow Their Legs
Spiders often amputate their legs as a means of escaping predators. Luckily, they can usually grow them back.
Steve Jobs’ Last Words Were Awe-Inspired
According to his sister, the last words Jobs spoke were “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”
Cows Get Excited When They Problem-Solve
Research published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science reveals that heifers had increased heart rates and moved more after solving a problem, indicating excitement.
Roses Can Grow Taller Than People
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest rose bush, grown in New Jersey, was 18 feet, 7 inches tall.
Sharks Can Grow Thousands of Teeth
Sharks can grow up to 30,000 teeth over their lifetime.
Betty White Predates Sliced Bread
96-year-old actress Betty White was born in 1922, but commercially-available sliced bread didn’t hit shelves until 1928. Think that’s hilarious? You’ll be in stitches over the 40 Facts So Funny They’re Hard to Believe!
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