9 Random Facts About Our Spectacular Earth

Our planet is a pretty fantastic place. From the millions of species: insects, fish, birds, mammals; to towering mountains and infinite oceans, there’s a lot to love about being here.

On this Earth Day, read about some randomly fascinating things that make our home special.

1
Amazing Flowers

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Flickr/Shankar

The world’s largest individual flower on the planet is the corpse flower, named for the dreadful odor the plant produces. The flower can grow to 3 feet in diameter and can weigh up to 24 pounds. 

2
Surprising Rodents

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The largest rodent does not live in your garbage can, as you may think. The largest rodent is actually quite cute and furry. The capybara is the largest living rodent. They can weigh up to 145 pounds and grow to 4.25 feet in length. They enjoy swimming and are found mostly in South America. 

3
Ancient Forests

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The first vascular plant emerged around 400 million years ago, setting the foundation for the Earth’s first forests. Earth’s first modern tree was called the Archaeopetris.  

4
Wild Temperatures

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STasker/Getty Images

The highest temperature recorded took place in California’s Death Valley—even hotter than the deserts of the Sahara. The temperature reached 134 degrees fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. The lowest? Negative 128.5 degrees in Antarctica also in July 1983. 

5
Rule-breaking Rivers

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Contrary to popular belief, not all rivers flow south. The Nile River in Africa flows north and downhill due to gravity. The Nile is also the world’s longest river.

6
Insects That Outweigh People

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Gail Shumway/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

The total biomass of all the ants on the Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on the Earth. There are at least 1.5 million ants on the planet for every human being.  

7
Sea Life Smorgasborg

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Jonathan Bird / Getty Images

The average manatee weighs about 1,000 pounds. These herbivores graze for about 7 hours each day, and eat 7-15 percent of their body weight. That comes to about 150 pounds of greens per day! 

8
Home Is Where the Honey Is

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Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org

Honey bees live in colonies of 50,000 bees on average. The colony consists of a queen, drones and worker bees. Those are really close quarters! 

9
Spectacular Sand

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Anne Helmenstine

At the southern tip of the island of Hawaii (Kona), there is a green sand beach. Most beaches are made of quartz, however, the beaches of Hawaii are made almost entirely from smoothed shells. The green sand comes from the material, olivine.