50+ Amazing “Did You Know” Facts Most People Actually Don’t Know
Finally, explanations for things you never stopped to think about twice.
Did you know each insect is a host to 10 bacterial species?
There are around 2 billion species on Earth—with 6.8 million likely to be species of insects. In each of these insects, up to 10 types of bacteria lives inside of them!
Did you know Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are incredibly distant cousins?
The old wives tale that we’re attracted to people who look like our parents has some strange ties. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share more than just a marriage. Apparently, they share an ancestor dating 15 generations back. But, they’re not the first royals to be married and related—check out these fascinating things you didn’t know about the British royal family.
Did you know instrument strings were made from animals?
The strings of string instruments were originally made from the guts of animals like sheep or lamb. Now, instrument makers have transitioned to metal wiring. But before metal, it was common for all string instruments to be made from the guts of the animals geographically available to them.
Did you know there were male engagement rings once?
Advertising schemes have made people do wacky things—including, flipping the script on engagement culture. You know the story: the man spends a small fortune for a ring, kneels, and pops the question. Well, in 1926, jewellers paired with advertisers to sell the concept of the male-gagement ring. The male engagement rings had names like the Pilot, the Stag and the Master.
Did you know Queen Elizabeth II keeps track of when she wore each outfit?
It’s rumoured that Queen Elizabeth never wears the same hat twice. If she did, she waits years to wear them again, and evidently, there’s a spreadsheet recording her exact outfit per day. So, what does she do with all of those hats? A one-time-only exhibit showcased the many hats and handbags she wore during public engagements. Here are more fascinating facts about the Queen.
Did you know some hand gestures are offensive in other countries?
The “devil horns” hand sign seen thrown up at rock concerts can be offensive in other countries. In European and South American countries, this hand-sign is a sign that a man’s wife has been unfaithful. The meaning dates back to the etymological meaning of “cuckold” which is “horned” in Italian, Spanish, and Greek.
Check out more rude manners that are actually polite in other countries.
Did you know 40 per cent of human jobs could be replaced by AI in the future?
In about 20 years, the future could look eerily similar to Wall-E. Artificial intelligence expert Kai-Fu Lee said that 40 per cent of human jobs could be replaced by equally-capable robots. And, drivers might be affected the most. Find out which jobs will be extinct in 10 years.
Did you know Disney World has an underground tunnel system?
There are lots of quirky things about Disney World that some think are underground, but this fact literally is. The tunnels were built in response to characters having to run through other lands to get to their posts, which spoiled the magic. Thanks to the tunnels, Belle can run peacefully to her land. Here are some items banned from Disney parks you should know about.
Did you know your body loses up to 8 per cent of water in a flight?
Water is our body’s mechanical oil—without it, it can’t function. You lose about 8 per cent of your body water while on a flight. This is because the humidity in the climate-controlled environment can be as low as 10 to 15 per cent. Here’s more about what happens to your body on an airplane.
Did you know wind on Mars is audible?
You’ll want your bass-heavy headphones for this one. Sensors on the NASA InSight lander on Mars picked up the first recorded sounds of Martian wind through vibrations. The wind can be heard at a decibel within human range with the help of headphones.
Did you know your skin sheds?
The current skin you’re in will be gone in a month—our skin sheds 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells each day. In fact, over 100 of those cells probably flaked off while reading this sentence. However, it rejuvenates just as quickly as it deteriorates. Regular exfoliation twice a week helps rid of lingering skin cells to make room for a fresh layer.
Did you know trees can communicate?
Trees talk. Their roots are connected through an underground network of fungi, nicknamed the Wood Wide Web, that allows them to share resources with each other. They “talk” by transmitting nutrients to one another through the fungi. For instance, a mother tree, or oldest and strongest tree in the forest, will share some of her sugars with smaller, nearby trees. Don’t miss these jaw-dropping photos of the world’s most beautiful trees.
Did you know you can use willow bark for pain relief instead of aspirin?
The secret to pain relief may be in your backyard. For centuries, willow bark has been used as an alternative to aspirin. The active ingredient in the bark, salicyl, turns to salicylic acid and is more gentle on the stomach than over-the-counter aspirin. Check out more old-time home remedies that actually work.
Did you know people used to rarely smile in photos?
Why do people smile when they have their photo taken? Smiling in photos is said to have originated from a Kodak advertising scheme that focused on capturing moments of happiness with the product. Since then, it’s been the norm to grin into the camera. A study comparing yearbook photos from 1905 to 2005 showed an increase of lip curvature over time.
These hilarious yearbook quotes will crack you up!
Did you know the longest human neck is over 7 inches?
The longest human neck extends to 7.7 inches, belonging to women in the Padaung tribe in the highlands of northwestern Thailand. This is about twice the length of an average human neck. As a cultural practice, the tribe fashions heavy brass rings on a female’s neck from the ages of 5 to 9 and add more as she ages. If you’re into these “did you know” facts, check out these lies you were told as a kid that you probably still believe.
Did you know tunas tear it up?
Did you know the first documentary was staged?
What’s widely credited as the first documentary, Nanook of the North, was not true. Most of the film was staged—including its cast and surroundings. Although it “blazed cinematic trails” for its time, most of the film is full of “faking and fudging in one form or another,” as said in Criterion.
Check out more history lessons your teacher lied to you about.
Did you know the lighter professional competitive eaters are, the better?
You’d think that the bigger the stomach, the more hot dogs would be able to fit, right? Not quite. Popular Science expanded on the theory that lighter contestants can out-compete their heavier eaters. The reasoning behind this is that a skinny person has room for their stomach to expand without being blocked by a ring of fat.
Did you know Elvis didn’t write “Blue Suede Shoes”?
Instead, the “pioneer of rockabilly music” Carl Perkins wrote the illustrious song that sold 2 million copies before Presley covered it, according to the LA Times. It is even said that Perkins wrote the song on an old potato sack, according to Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Wise Up!
Did you know the longest breath held underwater is 24:03 minutes?
That’s the typical amount of time it takes to watch one episode of The Office. But in 2016, professional freediver Aleix Segura Vendrell broke this world record in a breathtaking attempt.
Did you know lions are identifiable through their whisker patterns?
Like humans’ fingerprints, each lion has a whisker pattern unique to their nose, according to the New York Times. Back in the late ’60s, researchers conducted a whisker hole identification method that involved overlapping photographs of lions noses with a standard grid.
Don’t miss this gallery of the rarest animals on Earth.
Did you know there’s a 50,000 word novel without the letter “E”?
Gadsby is a lipogram, or, a novel written without the letter “E.” The author, Ernest Vincent Wright, wrote the novel in 1939.
Did you know you can tell if an egg is old based on if it floats in water?
It sounds phony, but it’s time tested. If an egg floats when you set it in water, then it’s old; if it sinks, it’s a fresher egg and you’re good to go.
Find out why you should never keep eggs in this one part of the fridge.
Did you know before 1920, some people used to send children in the mail?
Because postage was cheaper than a train ticket, according to Smithsonian, some frugal parents chose this option. Newspapers ran amusing headlines, such as “Baby by Parcel Post” and “Parcel Post Baby Makes Trip Along L & E Railroad.”
Did you know blinking could serve as mental rest, not eye lubrication?
The intuitive reason why humans blink so much, 15 to 20 times per minute, is for eye lubrication. But, new research suggests that it’s to give our brains a break. Although these breaks only last for a few seconds, they could be giving the brain a chance to go idle and recharge.
Did you know you can survive in space without a suit?
Well, for only about 15 seconds. It takes that long for humans to lose consciousness in space due to lack of oxygen to the brain. In 1965, a technician was inside a vacuum chamber and accidentally depressurized his suit. After 12 to 15 seconds he lost consciousness, but his suit was re-pressurized at 27 seconds. According to Scientific American, the man recalled “the moisture on his tongue beginning to boil as well as a loss of taste sensation that lingered for four days following the accident.”
Did you know there’s a secret vault that holds nearly every type of crop seed?
The secret is out: it’s the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located in one of the coldest corners of the world: an island on the Svalbard archipelago, between Norway and the North Pole. This remote location allows natural permafrost cooling necessary for proper storage of the worlds largest collection of crop diversity. If the zombie apocalypse were to become a reality, or if farmers’ fields start to dry out, this seed vault would come to the rescue.
Did you know the computer virus Stuxnet has been able to cause physical damage?
Stuxnet is the MVP of computer viruses as it’s able to “[escape] the digital realm to wreak physical destruction on equipment the computers controlled,” per WIRED. Also, according to National Geographic, it’s been able to unlock computer-controlled locks in prisons.
Find out more cyber security secrets hackers don’t want you to know.
Did you know American men spend more time on leisure activities than women?
A 2018 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics report says that daily, men spend 49 minutes more in leisure activities than women. The study found that on average, men spend 5.7 hours a day engaged in leisure activities, compared with 4.9 hours for women. These tips for a restorative, stress-free weekend may even out the gender leisure gap.
Did you know why we yawn?
The most popular, but likely wrong theory, is that yawning increases levels of oxygen to the brain. A more plausible theory: yawning cools the brain down. A study conducted on mice found that as mice sucked in air, their jaws stretched—this increases blood flow to the brain. This combination of cooler air intake when yawning mixed with the blood flowing to the brain is thought to eventually cool the brain down.
Psst—research has also disproven the myth that yawning is contagious!
Did you know “C” is the most common chord used in pop songs?
A man analyzed 1,300 songs from the top 100 charts in pursuit of patterns. As for chords, he discovered that the most common key in music is C, ranking at 26 per cent. Popular songs in the C key include Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” and “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.
Did you know “Love” is the most common word used in most music genres?
Love is what makes the world go round, after all. In a study, eight out of 10 music genres report the word “love” as the most used word—excluding rap and heavy metal.
Did you know stuntwomen get more beat-up than stuntmen?
Clothing like skirts, tank tops, and high heels make their job that much harder for women than for men. A man’s suit can be easily padded, while bare legs cannot. One stuntwoman even admitted to using gel petals under her skinny jeans for knee pads.
Did you know goats have emotional intelligence?
Research shows that goats are socially aware of the environment they’re in. They can “differentiate between other goats’ happiness or displeasure by listening to their voices,” according to National Geographic. Check out these other “facts” about animals you might have wrong.
Did you know Hogwarts would look like an abandoned building to Muggles?
Hailing all Harry Potter fans! If Muggles came across Hogwarts, it would only appear to look like an abandoned building with a “Keep Out: Dangerous” sign on it.
Surprise—these “magical” things in Harry Potter are actually real!
Did you know turtles snack on jellyfish tentacles?
Apparently a fairly nutritious snack, jellyfish can be prey to young green sea turtles. As they age, green sea turtles become more herbivorous and stray away from eating just anything. In this video, you can see a young green sea turtle munch down on the jellyfish tentacles and swim away.
Did you know the fastest reptile is a sea turtle?
Nemo had a wild ride when he went for a cruise on Crush’s back. Sea turtles can swim as fast as 56 km/h.
Did you know why our skin gets wrinkly in the water?
After about five minutes in the bathtub, you begin to notice that tiny wrinkles are forming on your hands and feet. Why is that? Researchers speculate that it’s the body’s biological way of getting a grip when in a slippery condition. And, they found that the specific ways that human skin wrinkles are similar to river drainage systems. Here are more scientific explanations behind quirky body reactions.
Did you know that finger length can predict attractiveness?
Your palm reader might not be too far off when they say that finger length and ratios suggests facial attractiveness in men. If a man’s ring finger is longer than his index finger then they’re more likely to have a more attractive face, per the Atlantic. Here are more things that are scientifically proven to make you more attractive.
Did you know Stonehenge used to be in a circular formation?
It wasn’t until 2014 that a drought exposed an apparent circular outline of Stonehenge. Though now a semi-circle in shape, marks that may have signalled where stones might’ve been have given some credence to the idea that Stonehenge was originally a fully-formed circle in shape.
Did you know mountain goats are not in the goat family?
You goat-ta believe it: mountain goats are not goats, but are goat-antelopes, according to National Geographic. These curious creatures can also jump about 3.7 metres in one jump.
Did you know the game of Go is the oldest?
This simple-looking, yet mind-boggling, game is said to be the oldest strategy game that’s still played. According to the American Go Association, the game is said to have originated in China anywhere from 2,500 to 4000 years ago.
Did you know the world’s longest pizza is more than a kilometre long?
At 1.84 kilometres exactly, this whopping pizza was made in, you guessed it, Italy. But how? By the sweat of 250 chefs and about 2,000 kg of flour.
Did you know the Mississippi River inspired a painting?
Speaking of long, the Mississippi River inspired one of the longest paintings in the world. Panorama of the Mississippi, by 19th-century American artist John Banvard, was about 366 metre long. Unfortunately, after his death, Banvard’s famous panorama may have been cut up for theatre backdrops. Don’t miss these fascinating unsolved mysteries of the art world.
Did you know the word “brownie” was first used in print in 1500?
Although the context of the word is unknown, it could be referring to these three alternative meanings: the sweet treat we all know and love, a good-natured elf, or a Girl Scouts member. But in the 1500s, anything is possible.
Can you answer these real Jeopardy! questions about words?
Did you know an Alaskan town goes dark for over 60 days?
The residents of Barrow, Alaska, must be the most avid consumers of vitamin D supplements, because their town sees darkness for about 65 days of the year. The 65 days of darkness, known as polar night, is due to their geographical location above the Arctic circle.
Check out these common geography mistakes everyone makes.
Did you know Bill Gates’ business partner out-performed him on the SAT?
While Bill Gates scored 1590, his business partner, Paul Allen, seared past him at a perfect 1600.
Did you know matcha contains eight times more caffeine than green tea?
If you need an extra boost in the morning, we suggest reaching for green tea’s mighty cousin—matcha. One cup of matcha, a type of green tea, packs in 280 mg of caffeine, while traditional green tea contains a meek 35mg. This is eight times the regular amount.
Find out more surprising health benefits of green tea.
Did you know 2 million kids are vegetarian?
A host of reasons contribute to whether a child is vegetarian—and it mostly comes down to what their parents are willing to cook. According to the New York Times, nearly 2 million children ages 8-18 are vegetarian.
Did you know the oldest surviving love poem was forgotten until 1951?
Written in 2000 BC, the world’s oldest love poem was stored unimportantly in a museum drawer in Turkey—until Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer saw it. The world’s oldest love poem etched into a clay tablet tells the tale of beauty and love; themes that prevail in modern poems.
Did you know the most used computer password is 123456?
Toddlers must be creating them because “password” comes in at a rather high rate too, according to CNN. This data comes from a list from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre that analyzed the worst passwords worldwide.
Did you know 1 in 4 Americans believe the sun revolves around the Earth?
A total of 2,200 Americans were surveyed by the National Science Foundation in 2012. The numbers were startling: 1 in 4 incorrectly answered that the sun revolves around the Earth. Brush up on the crazy facts about the Earth you didn’t learn in school.
Did you know carbs make you sleepy?
Ever wonder why everyone in your family passes out after a huge meal? Most comfort foods include carbohydrates, and carbs contain an amino acid called tryptophan that can cause sleepiness.
Did you know the words algebra, alcohol, ghoul, and magazine all come from Arabic?
These common words are all rooted in Arabic.
Test your knowledge of words of Viking origin with this quick quiz!
Did you know the average American uses three rolls of toilet paper each week?
And, this excessive toilet paper use is affecting our forests. A report by the National Resources Defense Council described a “tree-to-toilet” pipeline, “concluding that the “consequences for Indigenous Peoples, treasured wildlife, and the global climate” are devastating.
Check out more frightening facts that will make you use less paper.
Did you know in India, most marriages are arranged?
A survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi and German foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung found that a high number—84 per cent!—of Indian youth were in arranged marriages.
Next, check out 75 mind-blowing facts you’ll think are made up (but aren’t).