We can easily say that the history of mankind is the history of delusions. However, we can’t insist that it brought us only harm — many achievements in science happened thanks to delusions.
Bright Side collected several popular “facts” for you that turned out to be false. Some of them really amazed us.
20. Bananas grow on palm trees.
Bananas are actually the fruits of large herbaceous flowering plants that don’t have anything to do with palm trees. However, the height of this grass can reach 15 meters. And, by the way, bananas are berries.
19. The biblical forbidden fruit is an apple.
In the Old Testament, it is said that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an apple. It is likely that the theory about Adam and Eve eating an apple appeared because of the translation of the Bible into Latin, which was done in the 4th century. The Latin word “malum“ can be translated as ”apple” or “evil.” So the forbidden fruit could be anything from pomegranates to figs to something abstract.
18. Wolves howl at the moon.
There is no direct connection between a full moon and wolves howling. Howling is a way of communication between wolves, and they lift their heads to make the sound spread better. Wolves can howl in complete darkness as well. However, due to the fact that moonlit nights are usually windless, it’s simply easier to hear the howling. Moreover, it’s impossible to see a howling wolf when the moonlight is not there.
17. Cave people lived in caves.
Modern researchers say that primitive people led a nomadic way of life, and caves were used as temporary berths. Moreover, the oldest berths were found not in caves but on plains. For example, a berth in Olduvai, Tanzania, the age of which scientists calculate to be 1.7 million years.
16. Ketchup is a tomato sauce.
The recipes for tomato ketchup first appeared in American cookbooks at the beginning of the 19th century. 200 years before, a sauce was made from anchovies, fish brine, wine, spices, garlic, kidney beans, walnuts, and mushrooms. It was called catchup or ketchup, and it was brought from Asia to England. It is thought that it was invented in China in the 3rd century BC.
15. The compass arrow points to the North Pole.
Strictly speaking, it’s not entirely true. The compass arrow points to Earth’s magnetic North Pole, which, unlike the geographic North Pole, is constantly changing. The change happens pretty fast: about 55-60 km per year. Besides that, the North Magnetic Pole is displaced daily by 80 km or more. The average path forms a well-defined oval.
14. The Moon has a dark side.
Everyone knows that the Moon always faces Earth with only one side. And this fact became the reason for the myth about the existence of its dark side. However, everybody forgets that the Moon rotates around the Sun just like our Earth does. It means that all its sides are equally illuminated by the Sun’s rays.
13. Seasons switch because the distance between the Earth and the Sun changes.
Actually, Earth has seasons because its axis doesn’t stand up straight. So instead of rotating with its axis straight up and down, it leans over a bit. Hence, in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s winter when Earth is not facing the Sun directly. At the same time, the Southern Hemisphere gets much more light and, therefore, people there can enjoy the summer heat.
12. Charles Darwin said that humans come from monkeys.
In reality, Darwin never stated the fact that humans come from monkeys directly. In his work On the Origin of Species, Darwin only said that monkeys, apes, and humans must have a common ancestor because of our great similarities compared to other species.
11. Alcohol warms up the body.
Not only does alcohol not raise the body temperature, it can drastically increase the loss of body warmth. The thing is that a nip or 2 actually causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving warm blood closer to the surface of your skin, making you feel warmer temporarily.
10. An emperor sentenced a gladiator to death by showing a thumbs down.
There is no evidence that emperors sentenced gladiators to death by showing the “thumbs down“ gesture. The Latin term ”pollice verso,“ used for this gesture, roughly translates to “turned thumb.” However, it’s not clear if the thumb should be up or down. This gesture was first depicted by Jean-Leon Gerome in 1872, and his picture Pollice Verso became the ”ancestor” of this popular myth.
9. Space is a vacuum.
Despite the fact that cosmic space has low density, it would still be wrong to call it a vacuum. Our Universe is filled with molecules of hydrogen, electromagnetic radiation, and, presumably, dark matter, which still hasn’t been discovered by scientists.
8. Our planet has 4 oceans.
In 2000, there appeared a new ocean called South on Earth. No, it wasn’t formed in our times — scientists simply started considering this ocean to be an individual ocean washing the shores of Antarctica, separate from the other oceans. The “new” ocean contains 14 seas.
7. Indians were always riding horses.
Despite the fact that the motherland of modern horses is North America, they died out here around the 6th century BC. They returned to the American continent only in the 16th century together with European colonists.
The first people that used horses were Pueblo Indians, and they started to convey this skill to other tribes. They almost didn’t use mustangs as a means of transport, and these horses were more often hunted for meat and skin.
6. The 25th frame affects human subconsciousness.
In 1957, James Vicary did an experiment; he secretly flashed, at a third of a millisecond, the words stimulating people to eat popcorn and drink a certain beverage onto a movie screen. According to his words, right after the end of the movie, the sales of both drastically increased. But the American Association of Psychology disproved the effect of the 25th frame. In 1962, Vicary himself admitted the falsification of experimental results.
5. The brain rests during sleep.
It is thought that we need sleep to let our brain rest. In reality, our brain doesn’t rest during sleep — it just changes its activity. For example, research held on mice showed that during sleep the brain starts a self-cleansing function to flush out toxins.
4. Cellular connection works because of satellites.
No, no! Here is how cell phones work: after dialing a number, your phone finds the signal of the nearest base station, the management block of which, in its turn, transmits the signal via a cable to the controller. The latter sends the signal to the switching module, which is also transmitted through the cable. And, finally, the switching module decides where to send the call.
3. Pyramids were built by slaves.
The pyramids in Egypt are believed to have been built by slaves. However, global research showed that free civilian workers were laboring at the pyramid construction site. It even turned out that they created something like contemporary labor unions.
2. Weightlessness is the absence of gravity.
Each of us remembers spacemen floating in the ISS. However, the floating happens not due to gravity’s absence but because the acceleration of gravity in the ISS is only 10% less than on Earth. Hence, this floating is explained by the stopless motion of the ISS in orbit, thanks to which spacemen are in a continuous free fall.
1. The right side of the brain is responsible for creative skills.
People think that personalities whose right side of the brain is more developed tend to have good creative skills. And those who have their left side of the brain dominating tend to have better analytical and logical skills. However, recent research has completely destroyed this myth. Scientists analyzed the work of 1,011 brains. The participants were between 7 and 29 years old. They didn’t find any signs of left or right hemisphere domination.
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