The world is weird, as are people and even animals. From laws about tying up your giraffe in Atlanta to a precious metal lurking in your blood, there are endless bizarre wonders you may not know about the world around you – and a few out in the heavens as well. Learn about the first mobile historical monument, an elephant herd in mourning, and more with these 75 incredible and weird facts.
Weird facts coming your way
1. Tiny tickles
In what must have been the cutest science experiment of all time, neuroscientists discovered that rats laugh when tickled.
2. Mosquitoes are even worse than you think
In experiments not even remotely as cute as tickling rats, scientists have discovered that mosquitoes urinate on us while feeding on our blood. They’re exploring ways to prevent this and thereby control the spread of dengue fever, yellow fever, and other diseases.
3. Bananas are radioactive
Looking to gain radioactive superpowers? Try a banana! Bananas are very slightly radioactive and are even used to measure doses of radiation. BED stands for Banana Equivalent Dose.
If you had to guess which animal was packing 32 brains, you’d probably guess wrong. The answer is leeches, which have a brain in each of their 32 body segments.
5. Mourning elephants
While elephants may have just one brain, they use theirs in some charming ways. When “elephant whisperer” Lawrence Anthony died, an entire herd of elephants arrived at his house, apparently in mourning.
6. Snow in the Sahara
The Sahara desert is one of the hottest, driest places on Earth, so snowfall is understandably rare. In fact, there are just a handful of recorded snowfalls in living memory – the first on Feb. 18, 1979, another in December 2016, and the latest on Jan. 9, 2018.
7. Chicken gender
Researchers found that roughly one in every 10,000 chickens is gynandromorphous, meaning they hatch half-male and half-female. According to scientists at the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, bird cells are different from mammal cells in that they don’t need to be programmed by hormones. This means that chicken cells can remain inherently male or female. A half-and-half chicken could have different plumage on one side than the other based on the gender coding of the cells, along with different body shapes, muscle, and even wattle and spur structures.
8. Bird brain
Farmer Lloyd Olsen failed to kill a rooster once, resulting in a chicken that lived without the majority of his head being attached to his body. That chicken became famous, touring the country as Mike the Headless Wonder Chicken from 1945 to 1947.
9. Apollo 11
Everyone records over their favorite tapes accidentally – even NASA, it turns out. The tapes containing the original footage of the Apollo 11 moonwalk were probably erased and reused to record satellite data. Oops!
10. Resetting the biological clock
Scientists performed an experiment where they shone a bright light on the backs of people’s knees. Those treated with the light had their biological clocks “advanced or delayed up to three hours.”
11. Sleeping with the fishes
Whales and dolphins take being “right-brained” or “left-brained” to the extreme. Getting a nap in the ocean requires them to let one-half of their brains sleep at a time, while the other half keeps them conscious.
12. Turning air into water
On the edge of the Atacama desert, Peru is one of the driest places on earth, leaving hundreds of thousands of people with no access to clean water. But a team of engineers set out to change that – with a billboard. The billboard changes humidity in the air into clean drinking water.
13. The school older than Aztec civilization
The Aztecs founded Tenochtitlan in 1325, but there’s a school that predates them. The University of Oxford became a full-fledged university in 1249.
14. Golden boys (and girls)
We all have a little gold in us. The human body contains about 0.2 milligrams of gold, mostly in our blood.
15. Running low
Speaking of gold, we’re running low. We’ve probably got less than 15 years of easily mineable gold left in the world.
16. Worth its weight in feathers
When gold becomes harder to mine, one option is to take our cue from the Aztecs, who valued feathers much more highly.
17. Sleep shuts down sneezing
You can’t sneeze while you sleep. Certain neurotransmitters actually shut down during REM sleep, and your brain can’t receive the signal to sneeze.
18. Can you hear me now?
In 2010, a Nepalese telecom installed eight 3G base stations along with Mount Everest, with the highest located at 17,000 feet.
19. Longest pregnancy ever
Most pregnancies last 280 days or so, but back in 1945, Beulah Hunter reportedly shattered that norm when she gave birth after being pregnant for 375 days, or about 12.5 months.
20. It’s raining … glass?
Even Captain Kirk might want to steer clear of this blue planet. In 2013, astronomers found a deep azure planet where “it possibly rains liquid glass sideways amid 4,500 mph winds.” Yikes.
21. Slow down
Would you like more hours in your day? Wait a mere 140 million years, and the average earth day could be 25 hours long because the planet is very, very slowly decelerating.
22. Tongue print
Your tongue has a unique “print,” just like a fingerprint.
Don’t blame shedding on the pets. Humans are prolific shedders, with about 600,000 particles of skin flaking off every hour. By age 70, humans lose an average of 105 pounds of skin.
25. Ice cold
Alaska is home to a type of frog that allows itself to freeze every year. The wood frog turns two-thirds of its body water into ice, then, in spring, thaws out and keeps on hopping.
26. Baby daddies
In seahorses, it’s the male who gets pregnant and gives birth. The female seahorse deposits her eggs inside the male, who fertilizes and carries them inside a pouch until they’re ready to be born.
27. Most prolific mom ever
The most prolific mom of all time was Feodor Vassilyev, who had 69 children. She gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets.
28. Hearing hangs on…
Research has indicated that hearing is the last sense to go when you die if you still have it.
29. …but your bowels don’t …
Your ears may still pick up sound after you die, but every muscle in your body relaxes at the time of death, including those that control the bowels. This sometimes results in a final bowel movement post-death.
31. Got goosebumps yet?
All this talk of death might be giving you goosebumps, but did you know you can get goosebumps when you’re dead? Rigor mortis is a stiffening of the muscles, and it can cause a goose bump-like appearance on the skin of a corpse.
32. Peanut butter diamonds
OK, that’s enough weird facts about death; let’s talk about something more hopeful. Scientists figured out how to turn peanut butter into diamonds. All they need is a higher pressure than what you’ll find at the center of the earth. Easy, right?
33. Fish farts
Researchers suspect that fish communicate through the noise of their farts, just like some teenage boys …
34. Well, that stinks
In 2008, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for farting too much in school. The sheriff’s office said he “continually disrupted his classroom environment” with intentional flatulence.
35. Primate depression
Chimpanzees can get PTSD and depression. A study confirmed anxiety and mood disorders in chimpanzees and raised ethical questions about using them for experimentation and captivity.
36. Whale woes
Orcas (commonly called killer whales) also show signs of stress when placed in captivity. This ranges from dorsal fin collapse to attacking and killing humans, something they don’t do in the wild.
37. Get salty
A hotel in Bolivia is made of salt. That includes the chairs, tables, and beds.
38. Sweet retreat
For something sweeter, look no farther than San Francisco, where an artist created an entire room out of cake.
39. Gum ban
In 1992, Singapore banned chewing gum. This fell in line with the country’s strict laws against litter, graffiti, jaywalking, spitting, and other untidy habits.
40. Hell freezes over
Hell can freeze over – and does all the time. Hell, Norway, that is. The town of Hell is a tiny village that reaches temperatures as low as -13 degrees every winter. There are at least three other towns in the world named Hell, including one in Michigan, one in the Netherlands (both of which also freeze), and another in the Cayman Islands (that doesn’t).
41. Man’s best…bride?
A man in India married a dog to beat a curse he earned by attacking a pair of dogs years earlier.
42. Bread eraser
Before modern erasers, artists and others had to use rolled-up white bread to remove pencil marks.
43. Risky Richter
The man behind the Richter scale, Charles Richter, was quite the character. Along with being a poet, Trekkie, and backpacker, he was an avid nudist. That should shake things up.
44. Multi-talented mouthwash
Today, we know Listerine for keeping our mouths minty fresh. But it has been sold in the past as a cure for dandruff, a surgical disinfectant, a floor cleaner, a hair tonic, and a deodorant.
45. A romantic death
Male honey bees only mate once. As he finishes, the male bee’s endophallus is ripped from his body, his abdomen tears open, and the bee dies. Ain’t love grand?
If that made you want to steer clear of romance, you’re not alone. Philophobia is the fear of love or of becoming emotionally connected with another person. Yep, it’s a real thing.
47. Back in the game
Nintendo briefly got into the love game. In the ’60s, the entertainment company owned a love hotel in Japan, where such hotels are basically rooms for rent by the hour, complete with fanciful themes, costumes, “toys,” food, and more.
48. Best hangover cure
Next time you’re suffering from a hangover, look no further than Sprite for the cure. A team of scientists found Sprite relieved hangover symptoms better than many other drinks and cures.
49. Ancient beauty masks
In ancient Rome, beauty masks had an interesting ingredient list that included placenta, excrement, sulfur, sweat from sheep’s wool, animal urine, ground oyster shells, and bile.
50. The sound of one hand clapping?
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko outlawed clapping after his opposition started using it as a form of dissent. People were actually arrested for clapping, including Konstantin Kaplin, who has one arm.
51. The paper house
There is a house in Rockport, Massachusetts, made of newspaper, including paper furniture such as a piano, a desk, and a chair.
52. A sun you could touch
In 2011, NASA discovered “Y-dwarfs,” stars that are even cooler than the human body.
53. A new name
Australia was originally called “New Holland” by the 17th-century Dutch navigators who first landed there. Learn more weird facts about Australia.
54. Great Belize Blue Hole
A large sinkhole off the coast of Belize called the Great Belize Blue Hole is a staggering 410 feet deep. It is the deepest known natural sinkhole of its kind.
55. Island of Dolls
Just south of Mexico City is the Island of Dolls, home to hundreds of terrifying dolls with missing eyes, limbs, and heads. It was originally meant as a dedication to a little girl who died under strange circumstances.
56. What makes a kangaroo hop?
It turns out it’s the tail. A kangaroo can’t hop if its tail is off the ground.
57. Bonus bounce
Here’s a bonus kangaroo weird fact: Whether their tail is on the ground or not, they can’t hop backward.
58. ‘Pure’ science
Isaac Newton never married, and it’s believed he died a virgin.
59. Arrested in the buff
A man was arrested for being naked – in his own home. Police said he was arrested because someone saw and reported him, and “officers believed he wanted to be seen naked by the public.”
60. Hippo milk
Want more weird facts about animals? Hippos nurse their babies with bright pink milk. Special acids the hippo secretes account for the unique color.
61. Dying of laughter
The stoic philosopher Chrysippus is one of the few people who have actually died of laughter. The story goes that he saw a donkey eating fig and yelled, “Now give the donkey a pure wine to wash down the figs!” He then died laughing at his own joke.
62. Quacking up
Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere in the world, a duck or goose is watching you.
63. Artful dodger
When the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, Pablo Picasso was one of the suspects.
64. Persistent plastics
Just about every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some form, as the material takes 500-1,000 years to degrade.
65. Just plain trashy
A lot of that plastic has ended up in the ocean, unfortunately. About 90% of the trash on the ocean’s surface is plastic. That means about 46,000 pieces of plastic for every square mile of ocean.
66. The humble potato
The Incas held the humble potato in high esteem. They could preserve them as a mash for up to 10 years and use them to treat injuries and aid in childbirth.
67. An Unholy See of crime
Vatican City, home to the Catholic church, has the highest crime rate in the world. This is likely due to its small population and high rate of tourism.
68. The prostitute pirate lord
Ching Shih was one of the most powerful pirate lords of all time, rising from a prostitute to the commander of the Red Flag Fleet, a coalition of more than 600 ships and 50,000-70,000 pirates.
69. Bad kitty
Thai police who step out of line are forced to wear a pink Hello Kitty armband.
70. Sharp sheep
Sheep are sharper than we give them credit for. A team of researchers found that they could train sheep to recognize human faces in photographs.
71. ‘Sex in a box’
When the game Twister came out, it got more than one person’s knickers in a twist. Milton-Bradley published the game with trepidation, and one of their competitors quickly accused them of selling “sex in a box.”
72. Just beat it
Every May, indigenous communities in the Bolivian Andes celebrate tinku, a violent fistfights festival that lasts several days.
73. Volcano surfing
In case regular surfing wasn’t extreme enough, some folks have started “volcano surfing,” rocketing down the slopes of volcanoes at speeds as high as 56 mph.
74. No laughing matter
It’s illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter to churches in Alabama. It seems more serious fake mustaches that do not cause laughter are allowed.
Here’s another strange law. In Atlanta, Georgia, it’s illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp. So, you know, tie up your giraffes somewhere else, bucko.
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This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
Main Image Credit: LagunaticPhoto / iStock