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13 Twitter Science "Facts", Debunked

Calling something a fact doesn't make it true.

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Flickr: baggis / Creative Commons / Twitter: @UberFacts

These stats originate from a PLOS Biology paper. But something appears to have got lost in translation. What the authors of the paper actually say is: "Our results suggest that some 86% of the species on Earth, and 91% in the ocean, still await description." That's not the same as being undiscovered. And it includes plants as well as animals.



Mary Parrish, National Museum of Natural History / Twitter: @GoogleFacts

Maybe? A huge fossil of a fungus "tree trunk" was identified in 2007 and thought to have lived on Earth when tree-like plants were just small shrubs, no more than a couple of feet high. But "covered" is taking it a bit far. And they were only stalks, no caps.

11. / Twitter: @UberFacts

30 million divided by 7 million actually works out at just over four sheep per person. You'd think at least one of the 1096 people who retweeted it would have checked the maths first.

But the population of New Zealand is 4.3 million, not 7 million. (Here are the actual numbers.) Using the real stats, the answer does work out at 7 sheep per person.