For fun, I’ve got a little trivia for you. Here are 20 random facts you probably didn’t know. Let’s dive into the deep end of useless information.
Photo: EvoFlash from flickr. CC BY 2.0 license.
1. The first contraceptives were made of crocodile manure.
Don’t blame modernization for the use of contraceptives. The Egyptians used the earliest contraceptives way back in 1850 B.C., called pessaries, and these were made of crocodile manure mixed with honey and sodium carbonate. A pessary was inserted into the vagina before a sexual intercourse and this was thought to kill the sperm.
2. Your hair and nails will continue to grow even after you die.
If the lengths of nails and hair of a dead person are measured right after death and compared to the lengths of the same body parts a couple of months later, there will be a significant difference. When a person dies, the skin retracts due to moisture loss. In effect, the exposed length will measure longer.
3. You could be a distant progeny of Genghis Khan.
A genetic study shows that almost 8% of men in the area which used to be the Mongol Empire carried y-chromosomes that are almost identical, suggesting that they could come from the same progenitor. That makes up around 16 million males or a half-percent of the world’s male population.
4. Einstein’s brain is wider than the average brain.
You’ve correctly suspected that Einstein’s brain is different from yours. If you’ve got an average-sized brain, then he had one that was 15% wider and very well-connected. His left and right hemispheres were connected by extraordinarily thick bands, the better to transmit signals more efficiently.
5. Cleopatra was born closer to the year when man first landed on the moon than when the Great Pyramid was built.
You’d think of Cleopatra and the Great Pyramid as occurring within the same timeline. The truth is – Cleopatra was born 2,491 years after the Great Pyramid was built in 2560 B.C. Her birth year was only 1,900 years before man took the big leap to the moon.
6. You can’t smell when you’re sleeping.
Don’t count on your nose to wake you up when there’s fire. When you sleep, it seems your nose is off-duty, too. A 2004 study on human olfaction shows that odors are only detectable by humans in the early stages of sleep but not when they’re fully asleep.
7. Your shimmery lipstick may contain fish scales
Originally, the shimmery substance in lipsticks was made from fish scales. Other sources have been developed to achieve the same effect, but some lipsticks are still manufactured using the aquatic ingredient.
8. Elephants can smell water located at distances of 3-12 miles.
That’s how they survive droughts and long summers.
9. Your eyes do not grow so much from its size when you were born.
Actually, they’re quite the same size. But not your nose and ears! Even if you have reached your full height as an adult, your nose and ears continue to grow and elongate.
10. You’ve been mispronouncing Dr. Seuss’ name!
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, actually pronounces his name as “Soy-ce,” rhyming with “rejoice.” Unless he just made it up, like he made up a lot of characters, and you’re correct to pronounce it “S-oo-se.”
11. A crocodile can scare you dead, but it can never stick its tongue out.
That’s because a membrane holds its tongue to the bottom of its mouth. If you don’t believe that, you can check a crocodile’s mouth for yourself.
12. Elephants have menopause.
They’re mammals, after all. Of all mammals, however, only female elephants, humans and the humpback whales undergo this phase.
13. The testicles of a male bee explode after the bee climaxes.
The reproduction process involving bees is quite intriguing and strange. It starts with the selection of a young queen bee. It is fed by worker bees with special jelly. It then goes through a mating flight with over a dozen “lucky” male drones, out of several thousands of eligible male bees. One of the drones then mates with the queen. However, when it reaches climax, its testicles explode and it eventually dies. Pretty bizarre; aren’t you glad you’re not a bee?
14. Turtles can breathe through their butts.
Turtle is one of those marine animals that have evolved with specialized sacs on the inside of their cloaca – the common chamber into which the intestinal, urinary, and generative canals discharge in reptiles, birds, amphibians, and many fishes – that enables them to acquire oxygen out of the water like normal gills.
15. Pirates wear eye patches to adapt to darkness easily.
It’s not because they lost one eye during their battles! The patch helps them adapt easily between light and darkness. Since had to always go up and down ships’ decks, and from daylight to near darkness, they don’t need surprises or unseen enemies.
16. You can’t hum with your nose plugged.
This is easy – just try it!
17. A strawberry is not a berry. A banana is.
In botany, berries are defined as fruits with seeds and pulp that come from one ovary. In that respect, bananas, pumpkins and avocados are berries. Strawberries are clearly not, because the fruit’s pulp does not come from the ovary but from the fruit’s receptacle. Instead, they’re called accessory fruits. How’s that for unlearning what you learned as a child?
18. Five frog species can be frozen, thawed, and then hop to life as usual.
Five species of frogs – the grey tree frog (Cope and Eastern), spring peepers, western chorus frog, and the wood frog – can hibernate underground during winter, thaw the ice and get on with life aboveground in spring.
19. A shark can blink with both eyes. No other fish can do that!
Except for the shark, fish don’t have eyelids so they have nothing to cover or close their eyes with. What the shark has, actually are nictitating eyelids, which are some kind of an eyelid turned upside-down.
20. Butterflies look so gentle; you won’t suspect they’re cannibals!
Call it survivalist instinct, butterfly larvae attack other larvae to eliminate others that might compete against them in the food chain. Researchers observing larvae also found that captive cannibalistic larvae grew faster than their non-cannibal counterparts.
Keep these things added to your arsenal of knowledge, even if they seem useless to you today. Who knows, one of these questions will be thrown your way for a hundred bucks. Then they’ll not be so useless after all.