35 True Science Facts You Didn't Know... Until Now

 Did you know that:

  • A killer whale is actually a really big dolphin?
  • Giraffes have blue tongues?
  • You can actually eat rose petals? 

It's true! Here are 35 interesting facts about science that you probably didn't know were true... until now. 

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Scientists didn't really exist until the 17th Century

Isaac Newton was a scientist before scientists even existed. Imagno/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before the 17th century began, science and scientists were not truly recognized. At first, people like the 17th century genius Isaac Newton were called natural philosophers, because there was no concept of the word "scientist" at the time.

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The only letter that doesn't appear on the periodic table is J.

Nope. You won't find any of these on the Periodic Table. bgblue/Digital Vision Vectors/Getty Images

Don't believe us? Check it out for yourself. 

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Water expands as it freezes

This ice cube? Actually denser than the water used to make it. Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

An ice cube takes up about 9% more volume than the water used to make it.  

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A lightning strike can reach a temperature of 30,000° C or 54,000° F

Lightning is both beautiful, and dangerous. John E Marriott/All Canada Photos/Getty Images

About 400 people are hit by lightning each year.

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Mars is red because its surface contains a lot of rust

Rust makes Mars appear red. NASA / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The iron oxide forms a rust dust that floats in the atmosphere and creates a coating across much of the landscape. 

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Hot water can actually freeze faster than cold water

Yes, hot water can freeze faster than cold. Jeremy Hudson / Photodisc / Getty Images

Yes, hot water can freeze faster than cold water. However, it does not always happen, nor has science explained exactly why it can happen. 

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Insects do sleep

Yes, insects do sleep. Tim Flach/ Stone/ Getty Images

Insects clearly rest at times, and are aroused only by strong stimuli – the heat of day, the darkness of night, or perhaps a sudden attack by a predator. This state of deep rest is called torpor, and is the closest behavior to true sleep that bugs exhibit.

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Every human being shares 99% of their DNA with every other human

Humans share 99% of their DNA with other humans. Science Photo Library - PASIEKA / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Related: A parent and child share 99.5% of the same DNA, and, you have 98% of your DNA in common with a chimpanzee.

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The world's latest butterfly has a wingspan of nearly a foot.

The Queen Alexandra Birdwing ( female (above) and male (below) ) is the the world's largest butterfly. "Ornithoptera alexandrae" by MP_-_Ornithoptera_alexandrae_3.jpg: Mark Pellegrini (Raul654)Ornithoptera_alexandrae_nash.jpg: Robert Nash derivative work: Bruno P. Ramos (talk) - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the world’s largest butterfly, with a wingspan of up to 12 inches. 

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Albert Einstein's brain was stolen.. sort of

Albert Einstein in 1946. Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images

After Einstein's death in 1955, pathologist Thomas Harvey at Princeton Hospital conducted an autopsy in which he removed Albert Einstein's brain. Rather than putting the brain back in the body, Harvey decided to keep it for study. Harvey did not have permission to keep Einstein's brain, but days later, he convinced Einstein's son that it would help science. 

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Grasshoppers have ears on their stomach

Grasshopper "ears" are in the most unlikely of places. Jim Simmen/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

On each side of the first abdominal segment, tucked under the wings, you'll find membranes that vibrate in response to sound waves. This simple eardrum, called a tympana, allows the grasshopper to hear the songs 


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The human body contains enough carbon lead for 9,000 pencils

The human body is made of up of many strange components. comotion_design/Vetta/Getty Images

 Six elements account for 99% of the mass of the human body: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. 

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More men are colorblind than women

Women are usually the 'carriers' of the genetic defect which is passed on through a defective x chromosome. It is mostly men who inherit color blindness, affecting about 1 in 20 men for every 1 in 200 women.

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Termites are actually well groomed

Termites may not be your favorite insect, but they are fascinating. Doug Cheeseman/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Termites spend a great deal of time grooming each other. Their good hygiene is important to their survival, as it keeps parasites and harmful bacteria under control within the colony.

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Humans can't taste food without saliva

Saliva is why you can taste food. David Trood / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Chemoreceptors in the taste buds of your tongue require a liquid medium in order for the flavors to bind into the receptor molecules. If you don't have liquid, you won't see results.  

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95% of the cells in the human body are bacteria

The human body has tons of bacteria. Henrik Jonsson / E+ / Getty Images

Scientists have estimated that about 95% of all the cells in the body are bacteria. The vast majority of these microbes can be found within the digestive tract. 

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The planet Mercury has no moons

The planet Mercury has no moons. SCIEPRO / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

While Mercury may resemble our own moon in many ways, it has no moon of its own. 

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The sun will only get brighter, before it collapses

The sun will only get brighter from here. William Andrew / Photographer's Choice/ Getty Images

Over the next 5 billion years or so, the sun will grow steadily brighter as more helium accumulates in its core.  As the supply of hydrogen dwindles, the  to keep the Sun from collapsing in on itself. The only way it can do this is to increase its temperature. Eventually it will run out of hydrogen fuel.  When that happens, it probably means the end of the universe. 

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Giraffes have blue tongues

Giraffe tongues are blue. Buena Vista Images / Digital Vision / Getty images

Yes - blue! Giraffe tongues are dark blue and average around 20 inches in length. The length of their tongues allows them to browse for very highest, juiciest leaves on their favorite acacia trees.

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The stegosaurus had a brain the size of a walnut

Sorry, stegosaurus, you tried your best. Andrew Howe / E+ / Getty Images

Stegosaurus was equipped with an unusually small brain, comparable to that of a modern Golden Retriever. How could a four-ton dinosaur possibly survive and thrive with so little gray matter?

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An octopus has three hearts

Along with eight legs, an octopus has three hearts too. Paul Taylor / Stone / Getty Images

Two hearts are used to pump blood to each of the octopus' lungs and the third pumps blood throughout the body. 

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Galapagos tortoises can live to be well over 100 years old

A Galapagos tortoise. Marc Shandro / Moment / Getty Images

They also are the largest of all living tortoises, measuring up to 4 feet long and weighting of over 350 lbs. 

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Nicotine can be lethal to children in doses as small as 10 milligrams

Most commonly known as the addictive ingredient in tobacco products, nicotine is often mistakenly thought to be a harmless chemical otherwise. 

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Killer whales are dolphins

This guy? Yep, he's actually a dolphin. Tom Brakefield / Stockbyte / Getty Images

A dolphin is one of 38 species of toothed whales. You might be surprised to know that the killer whale, or orca, is also considered a dolphin.

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Bats are the only mammals that have wings

Bats are the only mammals that have wings. Ewen Charlton / Moment / Getty Images

Bats are the world's only group of mammals that have wings. Although some other groups of mammals, are able to glide using skin membranes, only bats are capable of true flight.  

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It is possible to die from drinking too much water

Drinking TOO much water can be bad for you. Stockbyte / Getty Images

Water intoxication and hyponatremia result when a dehydrated person drinks too much water without the accompanying electrolytes. 

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A fresh egg will sink in water

If an egg floats in a glass of water, throw it away!. Nikada / E+ / Getty Images

What's one way to tell if an older egg is fresh? After putting an egg in a glass of water, if the egg sits at an angle or stands on one end, the egg is older, but still edible. If the egg floats, it should be discarded.

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Ants are capable of carrying objects 50 times their own body weight

Ants can carry 50 times their own weight!. Gail Shumway/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Relative to their size, ant muscles are thicker than those of larger animals or even humans. This ratio enables them to produce more force and carry larger objects. 

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Penguins' eyes work better underwater than in the air

A penguin in water. Pai-Shih Lee / Moment / Getty Images

This perks gives them them superior eyesight to spot prey while hunting, even in cloudy, dark or murky water.

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Bananas are SLIGHTLY radioactive

Bananas are slightly radioactive. John Scott / E+ / Getty Images

Bananas contain high levels of potassium. It's not something you need to worry about, since 0.01% of the potassium already in your body is the same radioactive type (K-40). Potassium is essential for proper nutrition.

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About 300,000 CHILDREN have arthritis

Children can get arthritis, too. David Sucsy / E+ / Getty Images

When most people think of arthritis they don't associate it with children. The most popular misconception about arthritis is that it is an old person's disease. In reality, arthritis affects people of all ages including about 300,000 American children. Fortunately, children tend to have a more favorable prognosis than older adults.

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Hydrofluoric acid is so corrosive it can dissolve glass

Even though it is highly corrosive, hydrofluoric acid is not considered to be a strong acid because it does not completely dissociate in water.

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Rose petals are edible

Yes, rose petals are actually edilble. Smneedham / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Both rose hips and rose petals are edible. Roses are in the same family as apples and crabapples, so the resemblance of their fruits is not purely coincidental.

Caution: Don’t use rose hips from plants that have been treated with a pesticide unless it has been labeled for use on edibles.

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Liquid oxygen is blue in color

Liquid oxygen looks like this. Warwick Hillier, Australia National University, Canberra

Oxygen gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.  However, the liquid and solid forms are a pale blue color. 

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Humans can only see about 5% of the matter in the Universe

Humans can't actually see most of the Universe. Corey Ford / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

The rest is made up of invisible matter (called Dark Matter) and a mysterious form of energy known as Dark Energy.