25 “Facts” We Learned In School Which Have Since Been Proven Incorrect

Published 6 months ago

I’m still confused some days as to whether Pluto is a planet or not. During our schooling years, we learned one thing but then soon after, new information came to light on the topic, only for it to seemingly be refuted causing even more confusion. 

Turns out there are several similar ‘facts’ that we learned in school, which turned out to be all wrong with further study and exploration. When one Redditor inquired about it online, the thread blew up with a variety of responses being shared. Scroll below to read some of the favourites according to folks’ opinions on things that were accurate at the time but eventually found to be outdated and wrong. 

More info: Reddit

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#1 I’m now under the impression that we did not, in fact, have a nice friendly thanksgiving dinner with the native Americans

Image source: witwebolte41, krakenimages

#2 We had lessons on how to get out of quicksand at school.

Image source: KetoCurious97, Clevergrrl

I have no doubt that the method is valid – but the ‘disproven’ bit for me is the need to know how to get out of quicksand. It really isn’t an issue.

In a similar vein, we had a lot of education about stranger danger. Again – not disproven. But much more valid would have been education about how much child abuse and abduction is committed by someone known to the victim. Australia’s Most Wanted had me petrified to look out the window at night. Turns out the dangerous person wasn’t lurking outside waiting to get in. He was a member of my family.

#3 I was told theres no such fish as an alligator gar when I chose it for a report. The teacher refused to let me look it up on the internet(very early at the time and “untrustworthy”) or encyclopedia(would take too long). So she asked the kid in the room who was known for being into animals. He had never heard of it, so it couldn’t possibly exist.
I will NEVER not be salty about this

Image source: 710forests, Florida Fish and Wildlife


Image source: StillSilentMajority7, Unseen Histories

We were taught that Rosa Parks didn’t get up from her seat because “she just got tired one day”; that the entire action was the spontaneous action of a lone woman.

In fact, the entire thing was scripted and choreographed. While Parks was a seamstress, she was also the secretary to the president of the local NAACP chapter.

She was recreating the protest done by Claudette Colvin. The NAACP wanted Parks to recreate it because Colvin was very dark complected, and a single mother.

The NAACP thought Parks, who was lighter skinned, would appeal to white audiences seeing this on TV

#5 Margarine is better for you than butter

Image source: Ill_Plankton_4225, Felicity Tai

#6 When I was in junior high in the mid 80s, our Earth Science textbooks had continental drift, and our teacher said, “Okay, so I need you to ignore all of Chapter 4” (or whatever it was). “Plate tectonics has been the accepted theory taught in colleges for 10 years now, but K-8 textbooks haven’t caught up yet.”

Image source: AliMcGraw, NASA

I feel like the version of plate tectonics I learned was a tiny bit garbled compared to what kids learned 10 years later, but my teacher was directly pulling from college texts and published scientific papers and distilling it down for 6th graders, so more power to her!

#7 The ‘we wont be walking around with a calculator in our pockets’

Image source: Need_Bacon, Mohammadreza alidoost


Image source: sosomething, Vaibhav Pixels

When I was little, I was taught about the brontosaurus, mighty long-necked plant eater of the dinosaurs.

Later, I was taught that, whoops! They accidentally stuck some random bones together and there was never any such animal.

Later still, I recall hearing that, oh, actually, there was a brontosaurus after all!

Or was there?

To this day, I am still, as a 42-year-old man, unclear on whether or not there was ever such a thing as a brontosaurus.


Image source: Approximatl, Elina Sazonova

I remember learning that MSG (sodium glutamate) was really bad for you. It was one of those things I heard both at school and in my family to the point where we wouldn’t buy any product that had MSG in the ingredients.

There have been multiple studies showing no evidence of adverse health effects from MSG. There is a subset of people that report hypersensitivity to it. But in double blind experiments, their symptoms tend not to show up when they don’t know they’ve eaten it. Conversely the symptoms DO show up when they think they’ve eaten it but haven’t actually.

Conclusion: MSG is literally just salt and glutamate protein, which is separately in just about everything you eat anyway.

#10 Blood is blue in your veins and only turns red when you bleed bc of oxygen

Image source: tiddysprinkle, National Cancer Institute

#11 “Just ignore the bullies and they’ll go away”
“You can be anything you want to be when you grow up”

Image source: Pure-Contract7101

#12 That as a kid, strangers were going to constantly offer you [illegal substances] . Thank you, D.A.R.E. program.

Image source: marimba79, Murat Emrullah Aydoğan

#13 Eggs are bad because of cholesterol.

Image source: Lucius_Funk, Nick Fewings


Image source: 716green, Antony Trivet

I’ve got 2 good ones.

I had a social studies teacher tell me that Asian eyes were slanty because it was a defense mechanism for sand blowing in the wind. This was who taught topics like history and geography. She also said some other racist stuff against Asians that I won’t repeat here.

That same teacher told us that the city of Buffalo was named by taking the original native American name for the land Belle Fleuve (which is French for beautiful river or something) and “mucking it up”. I never questioned why native Americans were giving things French names.

Anyways, in hindsight I now realize she was a terrible teacher.

#15 Where did we end up on “you can see the Great Wall from space”? Because at different points that was both true and definitely disproven in various textbooks I had.

Image source: anthonystank, NASA

#16 The food pyramid

Image source: loquacious_avenger, Jane Doan

#17 The tastebud zones thing.

Image source: keepinitrealzs, Don Hassan

#18 Respect those in authority.  The government, your company, your boss have your best interest at heart. If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll get ahead.

Image source: Pour_me_one_more, energepic.com

#19 That you should tilt your head back when you have a nosebleed

Image source: richelle2020, Pixabay

#20 That men have one less rib than women ?

Image source: LordVolcanon, Alex Stolarczyk

#21 Komodo dragon bites were deadly due to high concentrations of bacteria, not venom. Turns out that they are, in fact, venemous

Image source: actual-hakim, Jeffry Surianto

#22 In the early 80’s we were told that soon we would soon use the metric system in the US. Still waiting .

Image source: Low-Argument3170, Darling Arias

#23 “putting aboriginal children in schools was okay at the time (I was taught ) and they wanted their children to go. The aboriginals were treated with respect and their traditions and values were protected.” – Canada in the 90’s, more specifically my social teacher in grade 6 or 7. Pretty sure now that’s not how it went down.

Image source: brkuzma, Zakaria HANIF

#24 Humans are the only animals that use tools.

Image source: bullet_proof_smile, Anna Tarazevich

#25 God damn, I’m gen x. We learned that given then-current rates of productivity, we’d all be working 3 day weeks by 2010. Without being told we’d be *paid* for 3 day weeks, or that our labour would be offshored to Chinese prison camps.

Image source: Sauterneandbleu, Tiger Lily

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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facts, false facts, obsolete, outdated, unlearn
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