Skip To Content

    Here Are 18 Facts We Didn't Know At The Start Of February

    Featuring seven new Earth-like planets, bees that can use tools, and a 400-million-year-old metre-long worm you probably wouldn't want to come across on the seafloor.

    Getty Images / BuzzFeed

    1. There's a star with seven Earth-like planets orbiting it, 40 light years away.

    2. By the year 2030, a baby girl born in South Korea will be able to expect to live to age 90.

    3. It looks like the part of Earth's crust under New Zealand and the surrounding area might actually be a submerged continent. The group of scientists arguing for it to be classed as such are calling it Zealandia.

    4. Arctic sea ice reached a record low in the first week of February this year.

    NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Artist's impression of the seven Earth-like planets discovered around Trappist-1.

    5. Eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day lowers your risk of dying from certain conditions like heart disease or a stroke even more than eating five a day.

    6. There's now an app you can use as a contraceptive – but experts have warned that more evidence is needed to show it works.

    7. Vitamin D might actually cut your risk of catching a cold or the flu.

    8. For some children, antibiotics might be a more appropriate treatment for appendicitis than surgery.

    9. It turns out that the Zika virus can infect cells that line blood vessel walls, which is how it crosses the placenta from a mother to her fetus.

    Antagain / Getty Images

    10. A fish-eating reptile that lived 245 million years ago during the Triassic period gave birth to live babies instead of laying eggs.

    11. Four hundred million years ago there was a metre-long "Bobbit" worm with deadly jaws that lived in the sea.

    12. Turtles might have evolved necks that retract so that they could shoot their heads out quickly to catch prey, not for protection.

    13. Bees can learn to use a tool if they see other bees using it.

    14. There's a species of beetle that lives among colonies of ants by riding on the ants' backs.

    Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

    Winston Churchill in his study in 1939.

    X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/http://J.Hughes; Optical: NASA/STScI

    A supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud,

    15. Winston Churchill wrote an essay about the possibility of alien life in 1939 that has only just surfaced.

    16. There's a supernova 160 million light years away, and astronomers spotted it just three hours after it began forming from a dying star.

    17. Thanks to drought, some places in California have seen the ground sink by up to half a metre in the year and a half up to last September.

    18. It's possible to evaporate water from a bit of soot and make electricity.