11 Science “Facts” That Are Actually Myths

Don’t believe everything you hear, kids. Especially if you hear it from your mad scientist grandpa. Tune into Rick and Morty, only on Adult Swim.

1.
Tadek Kurpaski / CC BY 2.0 / Via en.wikipedia.org

The Brontosaurus was actually just an Apatosaurus. During the “Bone Wars” of the late 1800s, Othniel Charles Marsh discovered the partial skeleton of a dinosaur he named the Apatosaurus. Two years later, his fossil collectors uncovered a second skeleton that he thought belonged to a different dinosaur. He named it Brontosaurus.

Turns out, this second skeleton was just a more complete Apatosaurus. And while the error was eventually corrected, the name Brontosaurus lived on, possibly because it’s a more intriguing name: Apatosaurus means “deceptive lizard” while Brontosaurus means “thunder lizard.”

2.

Killer whales are part of the dolphin family. These marine mammals, also known as orcas, are also not considered a threat to humans (except when kept in captivity).

3.

Dolphins aren’t hyper intelligent. Their whistling isn’t a complex language, and they’re no smarter than worms or chickens.

4.

90% of your brain isn’t just waiting to be activated. If most of the brain was unused, then damage to those parts would not impact performance. However, slight damage to parts of the brain can in fact have serious effects.

5.

Lightning can strike twice. While opportunity may not always knock twice, the Empire State Building is struck by lightning about 100 times a year.

6.

We know how bees fly. Folklore held that the laws of aerodynamics disproved their flight abilities. In reality, air swirls in a tight circle and gives the insect an extra bit of lift. (The mystery, however, still makes for a heartfelt acceptance speech.)

7.
 

You can touch baby birds and unhatched eggs. Most children believe that mothers will reject offspring that smells like a human, but most birds have a very limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent.

8.

Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep. The number varies from person to person — some need as many as 12 while others can get by on just four.

9.
Deyan Georgiev / Via shutterstock

Specific sections of the tongue aren’t responsible for the sweet, savory, and bitter tastes. Though parts may be more sensitive to certain flavors, all taste sensations come from all regions of the tongue.

10.

Adding salt doesn’t lower the water’s boiling point. It actually has the opposite effect, and you’d have to add 58 grams of salt just to raise the boiling point of a liter of water by one half a degree Celsius.

11.

You do not swallow eight spiders in your sleep every year. There are so many factors against this happening that it’s ridiculous. A spider would have to wander by your bed (which they rarely do). It would have to climb onto your moving, unconscious body (which doesn’t always stay still). It would then have to be attracted to your giant, gaping mouth (which may not even be open). And you’d then have to actually swallow it (which doesn’t happen to everything that’s in your mouth).

Next time you see a spider, see how it reacts to a hot breath of air (not well! — it will probably run away, and your friends will think you’re weird).

Don’t believe everything your mad scientist grandpa tells you.

Don’t miss Rick and Morty, Mondays at 10:30, only on Adult Swim.

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