20 Previously Unheard Fun Facts That “Barely Anyone Knows”

Published 12 months ago

Every day there is something new to learn about our amazing world. We think we already know so much, but you might yet be surprised by some of the random facts shared on this particular Reddit post. 

Scroll below to learn about why woodpeckers are able to wrap their tongue around their brains, or what psychological disorder makes a person believe they are a cow amongst many other little curiosities from around the world. 

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Image source: SurrealEffects, noiseformind

There was a man, Angus Barbieri who didn’t eat for 382 days. He was morbidly obese and lived on tea, water, soda water and coffee while visiting the hospital weekly for vitamin and electrolyte treatments. He lost close to 280 lbs and broke his fast with an egg once he met his goal weight.


Image source: Gothsalts, Rudney Uezu

The nuke stockpile in Washington State is guarded by trained dolphins that seek out and clamp a balloon on unfamiliar divers.


Image source: j451k4, François Germain

Boanthropy is a psychological disorder in which a person believes they are a cow and try to live their life as one. Medical explanations suggest late-stage syphilis as one of the causes? Cool


Image source: anon, Clever Visuals

Big Ben is the Bell not the clock or tower.


Image source: nautius_maximus1, loc.gov

Sarah Winchester (who built the “Winchester Mystery House”) was not into the occult, wasn’t afraid of evil spirits, and didn’t think she could live forever by continuing construction of her house – or, at least there is no evidence to support that. People who knew her said she was a devout Christian and would never have anything to do with the occult. The stories about spiritualism and paranoia are for the tourists. She probably just liked having workmen around and a little activity going on at the house – she was one of the richest women in the world, so she could do as she pleased. Some who knew her said she may have done it to keep locals employed. Far from being afraid of stopping construction, one of her letters mentions that she halted construction due to excessive heat out of concern for the workmen.
It’s interesting how BS can just take the place of reality if it’s repeated often enough.


Image source: King0Horse, Library of Congress

There are at least three people who were born before the Wright Brothers took their first flight at Kittyhawk who were still alive when the Mars Rover died.

When they were born, humankind was stuck on the ground. In their lifetime, they saw single person flight, then military flight, intercontinental flight, a (gasp) female pilot, commercial flights, supersonic flight, space flight, humans on the moon, a probe sent out of the solar system, a robot cruising around on an entirely different planet picking up rocks, and finally that robot had been there so long it died. All in their lifetime.

That’s just crazy to me.


Image source: anon, Bill Pennell

The tongue on a woodpecker wraps around its brain as a form of soft insulation when it hammers. Then the tongue is able to extend far into the tree to retrieve bugs when it isn’t hammering.


Image source: anon, daniel plan

The “dog days of summer” refers to the time of the year when the dog star, Sirius, is brightest in the sky.


Image source: marcusjohnston, Robert Linder

Opossums are extremely unlikely to have rabies. They have a lower body temperature than most mammals and it makes them an unsuitable host for rabies.

Opossums are fascinating creatures, and not only because they have a high resistance to rabies. Scientists believe that they were around at least as far back as the extinction of the dinosaurs, and they are also the only type of marsupial native to the US.


Image source: steve0suprem0, garynuman

Gary Numan was born two weeks before Gary Oldman


Image source: Johhnymaddog316, CDC PHIL

Rabies kills around 60,000 people globally every year. To date, only 14 people worldwide have been known to recover after developing symptoms.

Rabies is as deadly as it is because it targets our central nervous system and destroys our body’s ability to perform essential functions. However, it does have a moderately long incubation period. If a bite victim is treated with the vaccine within 10 days of being bitten, they can expect to survive, but by the time symptoms appear, it’s already too late.


Image source: kingferret53, Bruno Aguirre

Sharks have been around longer than the rings of Saturn.

That’s right! Current estimates suggest that Saturn’s rings are about 400 million years old, while sharks evolved roughly 450 million years ago. Interestingly, that also makes sharks older than trees and grass.

Modern humans been around for about 200,000 years. Humans about 6 million. We were in a stone age for about 2.6 million years.

We were not the first to use stone tools. There was another species, probably a close cousin, that used them about 700,000 years before the first human.

Chimpanzees and some other animals are currently in a stone age.

Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Triceratops were probably the last species to die out.

Grass didn’t evolve until 66 million years ago (iirc) so only the last of the dinosaurs saw grass.

Tyrannosaurus and triceratops lived closer to us (65 million years) than the stegosaurus (80 million years).

I have more. I’m full of useless facts.


Image source: Centuri42, Paweł Sroka

The spotted salamander is the only vertebrate that photosynthesises.

Believe it or not but this fact gets even more interesting. The yellow spotted salamander uses photosynthesis in the embryonic stage. It does this by forming a symbiotic relationship with algae, which produces oxygen to feed the embryo as it develops and receives the embryo’s waste products and carbon dioxide. Researchers have even found algae inside the embryo’s cells!


Image source: whomp1970, Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Before being born, two of the four chambers of a baby’s heart are not used, they’re actually bypassed!

There’s no need to pump de-oxygenated blood to the lungs when in the womb, because the lungs aren’t breathing air yet, and so are not supplying oxygen. All the oxygen comes from the umbilical cord.

So the two chambers responsible for sending blood to/from the lungs are (largely) bypassed.


Image source: edlee98765, Agê Barros

A second is called a second because it is the 2nd division of the hour by 60 (pars minuta secunda), the 1st division being a minute (pars minuta prima).


Image source: CBGville, Inge Maria

Raindrops don’t fall in the drip shape popularly conveyed. They fall in the shape of tiny parachutes or hamburger buns.


Image source: Kryodamus, oldmach

Hans Zimmer was the keyboard player on “Video Killed The Radio Star”


Image source: cizzoo, uve sanchez

Concrete can set underwater.


Image source: SuvenPan, Sanjay ach

Greater one-horned rhino or Great Indian rhinoceros population stands at around 3,700 individuals, a significant increase from around 200 remaining at the turn of the 20th century. Strict protection and management action from Indian and Nepalese authorities and their partners are responsible for bringing the species back from the brink.

The Great Indian rhinoceros is definitely a conservation success story in the making, but there are still other species of rhinoceros that are at great risk of going extinct. Only about 60 Javan and about 200 Sumatran rhinoceros are thought to exist in the wild.


Image source: onlytoask, blonybadr

I don’t think most people know the meaning of “prodigal.” They know the parable of The Prodigal Son and think it refers to someone that leaves and then has to come crawling back, but that’s incorrect. “Prodigal” means to spend money lavishly or wastefully. The prodigal son was prodigal whether or not he ever went back to his father.

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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