It’s easy to take the things in our world for granted. We walk past them daily and don’t give them much thought. But sometimes, when you look at something with fresh eyes, it can be fascinating. Here are some of the most surprising facts about some of the most common things we see regularly.
1. Crackers have holes for a reason.
When you think about it, it’s pretty strange that most crackers have holes in them. The answer lies in the science behind baking, and it’s all about steam. Those holes allow the steam to escape during cooking, which prevents air bubbles from forming and ruining the crackers.
2. Cucumbers are berries.
Cucumbers are actually classified as berries within the fruit family because they grow from a single flower with only one ovum. Raspberries, while not true berries, are formed from multiple flowers that each develop their own seeds.
3. The elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump.
Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump. The reason is that their legs are different from most mammals’ legs — they don’t have any “spring” in them, so they can’t push off the ground.
4. Chicken earlobes can predict what color egg they will lay.
The color of an egg is determined by the color of the hen’s earlobe. Chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs exclusively, while birds with dark lobes lay brown eggs.
5. Erasers don’t just work manually.
Pencils produce marks on paper because the graphite in them reacts with the fibers that make up paper. Because eraser particles are sticky, they collect graphite from pencils when rubbed against them. Therefore, it is a chemical reaction rather than a manual one.
6. You can smell rain for a reason.
The smell of rain is incredibly potent. Although it might be difficult to name the individual scents that give off this aroma, we know its unmistakable scent when getting a whiff of it.
Bacteria, plants, and lightning can all contribute to the fresh scent that accompanies a rainstorm. The aroma is known as petrichor, and scientists have long been intrigued by its enduring appeal.
7. Coffee beans aren’t actually beans.
Coffee beans are seeds from the coffee fruit, a red or purple berry that grows on trees. The coffee bean, the seed of the coffee plant, is found inside what is called the “coffee cherry,” which is the red flesh of the ripe and juicy coffee fruit.
8. Human birth control pills work on gorillas.
Human birth control pills work on gorillas, and scientists hope to apply this knowledge in hopes of controlling the growing gorilla population.
9. We wake up feeling cold for a reason.
When we wake up, we first notice that the room is a bit chilly. We don’t realize this at first. Though our bodies’ core temperatures drop slightly during sleep, we aren’t usually warmed up enough to reach our normal temperature for several hours after waking.
So although we’re fully conscious, we might still be shivering and feeling a little chilly.
10. Bananas are radioactive.
While potassium is a vital nutrient for humans, it can be harmful when taken in large quantities. It’s also radioactive, so it’s not surprising that the banana has been reported to be a source of radiation exposure.
Which fact surprised you the most?
Preview photo credit martia_larts / Reddit, guyhartstein / Reddit