It may be hard to believe, but we’ve been taught so many things throughout our lives that simply aren’t true. Whether it be in school education or something we learned through word of mouth, science and technology has now advanced to the point that something that was taught in schools for decades turned out to not exactly be true. The same goes for something the media had pushed on us so many times that over the years it became impossible to see that this bit of knowledge was actually fabricated for our entertainment, or more likely, as an advertising stunt.
There are things we might have learned in grade school that were discovered to be untrue, but unless these things make the news, we’re stuck with these truths rummaging around in our brains that are in fact, actually lies. Here’s your chance to get rid of some of those lies, and replace them with actual truths. What’s being considered the truth right now, that is.
15 Redheads Are Going Extinct
With climate change affecting so much already, it would make sense that it would also affect the world’s population as well. Redheads, specifically, are said to be in danger of going extinct as their fair skin can’t handle the rising temperatures and increase in sun exposure. Of course this is far from the truth, as red hair is genetic and has nothing to do with environmental exposure.According to this article by Buzzfeed, the rumor that redheads are going extinct was likely started as a PR stunt by genetic testing companies. While it is rare for a child to be born with red hair, as it requires both parents to carry the gene, redheads aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even in families where a redhead hasn’t been born in multiple generations, one can still pop up as the DNA carrying hair color will continue to be passed down as a recessive gene.
14 The Witches In Salem Were Burned At The Stake
In the late 1600’s young girls and women in Salem who appeared to have fits or even seizures were diagnosed as having been victims of black magic, leading to mass hysteria and the Salem witch trials. In the end, twenty people were declared witches and executed, but none of them were burned at the stake as you have been led to believe. Most of those who were accused were actually hung. Only one was pressed to death by heavy stones after refusing to claim guilt or innocence according to History Stories.
Several of the accused ended up dying in jail cells while awaiting trial, however none were burned at the stake. It’s likely that the confusion comes from European witch trials, where the accused were executed by being burned at the stake. Often these victims were hung or beheaded before their bodies were burned, but there were still a significant number of those who were burned alive. For some reason, this has become the most common depiction in the media on how witches are killed even though that wasn’t always the case.
13 Humans Evolved From Apes
For those on board with evolution, you’ve probably been led to believe that humans have evolved from apes or monkeys. While humans are closely related to apes, we didn’t exactly evolve from them directly. It turns out that humans and apes share the same ancestor, one who is said to have existed 5 to 8 billion years ago. According to PBS, this species split into two lineages, one that became chimps and apes and the other that became a species called hominids.
There have been roughly a dozen species to evolve from the earliest hominids, which were human-like creatures, however most of them became extinct. While most of the hominids are considered close relatives to humans, only some are direct ancestors. So while humans do share many qualities and genetic features to apes and chimps, we didn’t actually evolve from them directly.
12 When You Shave The Hair Grows Back Darker and Thicker
It’s something young girls are told by their parents to prevent them from shaving for a few more years in attempt to prevent them from growing up, but unfortunately for the fathers of preteens everywhere, this truth is actually a lie. Regardless of what area of the body is being shaved, the hair will not grow back any darker or thicker. It’s said that this myth was started due to the fact that when hair grows naturally it will taper out at the ends, making them appear thinner. When the hair is shaved, the hair will have a blunt end, giving off the illusion that it’s thicker.
Dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD explains in an article for Everyday Health that the hair is only alive at the follicle, which is where growth occurs, and that the hair being shaved is actually dead. Wu says, "Your hair is dead, and shaving it doesn't affect the living part of the hair, which is the follicle that sits deep under the skin.” There have been studies performed on the effects of shaving dating back to the ‘20s, all which have drawn this same conclusion.
11 Kids Who Eat Too Much Candy Will Get A Sugar Rush
It’s the reason all of our parents forbade us from having sweets late at night and limited our candy intake while we were growing up. Children certainly have a habit of acting out, however it seems we’ve been blaming these tantrums on sugary treats when they might not be the culprit. The scrutiny of sugar began in the ‘70s when research came out that the artificial coloring and other ingredients added to food isn’t the best for us. While we can agree that this is likely true, sugar became highly targeted among nutritionists and the media, giving it the reputation for causing a sugar rush in children.
10 It Takes Seven Years To Digest Gum
You’ve always been told not to swallow your gum as it’ll take seven years for your body to digest it, but that’s not actually the case. It’s true that our bodies can’t digest gum since our stomachs can’t break it down, but it doesn’t just hang out in our digestive systems for seven years. It will be moved along the digestive tract and eliminated through the body’s waste system.
Our parents might have been looking out for us though when they told us not to swallow our gum, as swallowing multiple pieces can cause a blockage. This occurrence is especially common among young children who don’t understand that gum isn’t food, and that is should be chewed and not swallowed. Blockages get worse if a child is swallowing gum as well as any foreign objects such as coins, as they’ll get caught in the wads of gum. Likely this myth was created by an overprotective mother and a group of her gullible friends.
9 Bats Are Blind
The phrase “blind as a bat” has certainly given bats a bad name, or at least the reputation for having poor eyesight. This, however, is far from the truth as bats actually have impeccable eyesight and can see as well as most humans. At night, bats are still able to see with their eyes, but they often use their ears as well. Using a sonar system called echolocation, bats create a noise, which is then echoed back to them. These echoes give them all the information they need about what’s ahead of them, such as the size and speed of an insect they’re hunting.
It’s thought that this phrase was adapted from an Aristotle quote, “For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.” Over time the quote was shortened, yet meant to provide the same meaning. People, however, took it too literally and have come to think that bats are blind.
8 Jesus Was Born On December 25
Even though we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25, there’s actually no evidence in the Bible that backs this up. In fact, there’s more evidence that he wasn’t born on that day. The first major factor that leads historians to believe he was born at another time is the fact that the shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth. This wouldn’t have been possible in December as it would have been too cold, leaving many to believe Jesus was actually born during a warmer time of the year.
The bible also states that Jesus’ parents went to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census and this is where Jesus happened to be born. Historians have pointed out that a census such as this one wouldn’t have been held during the winter as the roads would be too icy making them nearly impossible to travel on. It is believed that the date December 25 was chosen as a compromise with paganism.
7 Great White Sharks Mistake Swimming Humans For Seals
Great white sharks might be one of the world’s largest predators, but they actually don’t enjoy the taste of humans. It has been said that sharks might mistake humans swimming in the oceans for a seal or similar mammal, but it turns out that this isn’t true. According to the National Geographic, great white sharks actually have very sharp eyesight, and have no trouble telling the difference between seals and humans.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t curious and won’t go in for a taste. Most shark attacks however, aren’t fatal as sharks are put off by the taste of humans. It’s the film industry that has created movies like Jaws that give sharks a bad reputation, but there were only eight deaths caused by sharks throughout the 20th century.
6 A Person Swallows Four Spiders In Their Sleep Each Year
We’ve been told that we swallow an average of four spiders in our sleep throughout our lifetime, a concept that has likely caused many sleepless nights among those suffering from arachnophobia. Luckily, this is actually a lie. Aside from the fact that there are no such cases documented in medical history, it would be extremely difficult for a spider to make it’s way into a person’s mouth. The circumstances would have to be fairly specific.
First a person would have to be sleeping with their mouth open. Second, they’d have to be a still sleeper as spiders definitely don’t want to be rolling around in bed with you. The spider would have to happen to be crawling across the face and decide to enter the mouth, even though a dark hole emitting warm air is hardly inviting to these insects. Lastly, we’d have to swallow the spider, and humans don’t swallow automatically when something enters their mouth nor do we swallow in our sleep. That makes this likely the best news you’ll hear all day.
5 Plucking White And Grey Hairs Causes Three More To Grow Back
With age comes those pesky grey hairs, and regardless of warnings that three more will grow back in its place, we still pluck them out. Easier than reaching for the hair dye when we’re still in denial that we’re getting older, we ignore the possible repercussions and grab those white hairs by their root. As it turns out, plucking out unwanted hair does not cause three more to grow back in its place. It doesn’t cause any more to grow back as plucking hairs will not magically create other hair follicles or have any effect on those nearby.
Plucking, however, can still cause other damage. According to a Huffington Post article, constantly plucking hairs can damage the follicle and make the body think that hair isn’t needed in this area. The body then reacts by putting these follicles to sleep, preventing the hair from growing back. This can actually result in bald spots and premature balding, so if those white and grey hairs are bugging you, it might be best to just snip them close to the root instead.
4 Humans Have Five Senses
We’ve been taught our whole lives that we have five senses; touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. As it turns out, we’ve been taught wrong and we actually have a ton more. Our touch sensory system is more complex that we originally thought and there are separate systems for itch, pressure, tension, and pain. Other senses include proprioception, which provides the sense of location for each body part in relation to others, thirst and hunger, which monitor your body’s hydration and food levels so you know when to eat or drink, equilibrioception, which helps you to keep your balance and senses your body’s directional movements, and thermoception, which allows us to sense hot and cold both externally and internally.
The original five senses have been given credit to Aristotle, and are being added to regularly. Currently the sense of time is being considered as a sensory system even though they haven’t found an exact mechanism in the body that is used to perceive this. Studies have been done that demonstrate humans have a surprisingly accurate sense of time, especially when we’re younger.
3 Cracking Knuckles Causes Arthritis
While cracking knuckles may be unpleasant for those around us, it’s actually not causing any bodily harm. A sound caused by the bubble popping in the liquid surrounding our joints, many people have formed this habit as it creates a sense of satisfaction or pressure release. Fortunately for those who have developed this habit, it turns out that cracking our knuckles doesn’t actually cause arthritis.
It can, however, cause swelling in the joints and lead to reduced grip strength over time, so it’s not recommended to do very often. That isn’t an issue for all with the habit though, as studies have shown that when comparing the hands of those who’ve cracked the knuckles on just one hand their whole life, the two hands were in identical health. So, it seems that the only side effect of this annoying habit is on those within earshot.
2 Humans Only Use Ten Percent Of Their Brains
We’ve been told our entire lives that humans are only able to use ten percent of their brains, creating the notion that there’s room left for evolution to take its course and eventually create some kind of unstoppable superhuman. Whether our science teachers unknowingly believed the myth and passed it along or we picked it up from one of the dozen or so sci-fi movies that have used this concept in their story lines, we’ve all come to believe this was true. However, it turns out that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this rumor began, Scientific America has discovered that the concept goes back many years ago and has been associated with Albert Einstein as he would often use this theory to explain his heightened intelligence compared to others. Neurologist Barry Gordon assures the public that not only are we using more than ten percent of our brains, but we actually use nearly every part of the brain and it’s completely active at any given time. The only time we might use such a small part of the brain is if we’re resting.
1 Vaccinations Lead To Autism In Children
Many parents have come to believe that vaccinations are actually harmful to children and can lead to autism. They will even go as far as to refuse vaccinating their kids, putting others at risk. There have been multiple studies done using thousands of children that prove not only that vaccines aren’t causing autism, but that they are completely safe. Many parents have come to believe that these shots lead to autism as there have been several instances where a child's vaccinations and autism diagnosis correspond, which makes sense considering how many vaccines require multiple shots.
While there are some environmental factors that are thought to cause autism, genes are a major contribution. Those who carry the gene don’t always pass it along, however, women who carry children when their older and those who have complications during pregnancy increase their child's risk of developing autism.
SOURCES: bats.org.uk, bmj.com, health.harvard.edu, todayifoundout.com, huffingtonpost.com, news.nationalgeographic.com, ucg.org, pbs.org, buzzfeed.com, history.com, kidshealth.org, webmd.com, everydayhealth, scientificamerican.com