In our quest to learn new things, we come across facts and stories that sound so ridiculous that they are hard to believe. While they can be difficult for us to absorb, it does not necessarily mean that they are false. In order to feed your curiosity, and to show how unusual and interesting our planet is, we have gathered some ridiculous facts. Although they are hard to believe, these intriguing facts are true. Without further ado, here is a fun list to improve your general knowledge.
1. 90% of adults in China cannot drink milk. They are born lactose-intolerant or lactase-deficient—meaning they lack sufficient lactase, the enzyme necessary to absorb the sugar in milk, lactose.
With more than 1.386 billion people in the country, China is the third largest producer of milk. The Asian country is a world leader in terms of cows’ milk production with 78.7 billion lbs of milk produced in 2018 alone. According to some reports, the dairy farms in China are three times the size of the largest dairy farm in the United States. Despite this, 90% of Chinese adults are naturally lactose-intolerant or lactase-deficient. This means that they lack sufficient lactase, the enzyme necessary to absorb the sugar in milk, lactose.
A study conducted by the NCBI found that 92.3% of the Chinese subjects were “lactose malabsorbers”. According to the US National Library of Medicine, 90% of adults in some East Asian countries are lactose-intolerant. If they consume even a sip of milk, they can experience bloating, gas and extreme cases of diarrhea. (source 1, 2)
2. Pigeons bob their heads when they walk to stabilize their visual surroundings.
It’s been observed widely that pigeons bob their heads while walking. Although the reason behind the bobbing was unknown for decades, scientists finally figured out why they exhibit such a behavior. According to scientists, it has nothing to do with style, rather the way they see the world. The head bobbing allows a pigeon to momentarily fixate their eyes on objects, giving the photoreceptors in their eyes enough time—about 20 milliseconds—to build a steady scene. Since a pigeon’s primary mode of transportation is flight, their vision doesn’t mix well with movement.
In 1970, a team of scientists tested this theory by placing pigeons on treadmills. What they discovered was that their heads did not move when their surroundings were stationary as they walked. According to Wired, their heads don’t actually bob. When a pigeon is walking, its head moves forward and locks in place while their body moves forward. The process continues to repeat until they fly away or become stationary. (source)
3. Around 1.6% of the population suffers from mirror-touch synesthesia, where they can literally feel the pain that others are feeling.
When you think of synesthesia, you probably imagine someone who “hears” colors or “sees” sound. However, the brain’s unusual cross-wiring that causes mirror-touch synesthesia, allows a person to feel as if their own body is being touched whenever they see someone else being touched. Not just touch, but studies show that sufferers can also feel pain and sadness. A study published in the journal Cortex explains that this occurs when the visual and tactile senses get mixed up. Every 2 in 100 people also suffer from mirror-touch synesthesia, where they feel pain just by observing someone else in pain. (source)
4. When you receive a kidney transplant, they don’t replace your kidney(s), they just stick a third one in there.
It’s a common misconception that during kidney transplants, the already present kidneys are removed and replaced with the donor kidney. If the kidneys lose their ability to filter properly, a donor kidney is attached in the lower part of your abdomen. Unless the already existing kidneys are causing any concerns, doctors usually leave them where they are. (source)
5. Guinea pigs are heard animals and always require a furry friend to survive. So, Switzerland passed a law that prohibits anyone from owning just one guinea pig because they are prone to loneliness.
Guinea pigs are extremely social animals and require mates to survive. Without a mate, their chance of survival is extremely low, so Switzerland passed a law that requires owners to adopt pets in pairs, instead of just one. The animal friendly country also requires fish owners to keep at least one mate for every goldfish they own and those who own just one parrot must ensure that the bird gets enough opportunities every week to socialize with other birds. The reason why the country has chosen to enact such a law is because like human beings, animals can also suffer from depression. These laws are put in place to help reduce depression and promote a healthy life for animals and humans alike. (source)
6. Due to a phenomenon called superfecundation, twins can have different fathers.
Heteropaternal superfecundation is a condition where a mother gives birth to twins with different biological fathers. The twins can look completely different and the chances of having superfecundation increases if a woman has multiple matings with multiple males. Although it’s extremely rare, there are many cases where the phenomenon occurred and many fathers who realized that their beloved wives had been unfaithful to them. (source)
7. Chainsaws were originally invented for helping with pregnancy, not for cutting wood.
Today, chainsaws are used to cut wood with ease. They were however, originally intended to assist doctors. Invented in 1780 by two doctors, the chainsaw helped doctors speed up the procedure and make it less time-consuming. When it was first created, the chainsaw was not motorized, and had a hand crank that doctors had to manually rotate instead. (source)
8. In Brazil, prisoners can read books to shorten their sentences.
Brazil is home to the world’s third largest prison population with more than 2.1 million inmates. With numbers only rising annually, the government found a program that not only helps the inmates rehabilitate, but also reduces their sentence by a maximum of 48 days every year. According to The Guardian, those incarcerated in federal prisons can read books of literature, philosophy, science or classics. Depending on how much they have read, every year, days are reduced from their prison sentence. Not only do they have to read the books, but upon completion, they have to write an essay about it. The essay must “make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up writing”. Once completed, they can submit it to a judging panel who decides whether the context is actually worth reducing their sentence. Through the program that is currently available in four federal prisons, the government aims to help inmates understand life in a different way. (source)
9. The amount of hair on the body influences intelligence.
Dr. Aikarakudy Alias, a psychiatrist, has been studying the link between body hair and intelligence for more than 22 years. Through his study, Dr. Alias discovered that those who are hairy are more likely to be found amongst doctors and the highly educated than in the general population. In 1996, he informed the eighth Congress of the Association of European Psychiatrists that 45% of male trainee doctors were “very hairy”, compared to less than 10% of men generally. In Kerala, southern India, research showed that medical and engineering students had more body hair than manual workers. (source)
10. As we grow older, we start becoming shorter.
It’s true that we start shrinking as we get older and it is a normal part of aging. This happens because of three things, according to Dr. Roshini Raj, who explained the details to Wall Street Journal. First, as we age, the discs between our vertebrates lose fluid, so they flatten a bit; causing our spine to actually shrink. Second, the arches of our feet also tend to flatten out as we age. Finally, we lose muscle mass as we age, which leads to poorer posture; which also gives the appearance of being shorter. (source)
11. Caño Cristales or the “River of Five Colors” is a river in Colombia that is filled with vivid colors.
The Caño Cristales is a river in Colombia that is filled with vivid colors. Locals call the 62.1 mile-long river “liquid rainbow”, since it appears bright red, yellow, green, blue and black during the months from June to November. The river gets its color from aquatic plants called Macarenia clavigera. According to CNN, the phenomenon occurs nowhere else in the world and Caño Cristales is the only known place which is a hotspot for biodiversity. (source)
12. There is a species of crab called Heikegani whose shell looks like an angry samurai face.
The Heikegani crab, which has the face of a samurai on its shell, is native to Japan. According to Japanese folklore, the Heikegani crabs contain the souls of the Heike samurai warriors. Also called the Heike crabs, they are extremely small—about four centimeters—and the face is actually the points where muscles attach to the carapace. Experts suggest that the reason why we see a samurai face on the crab’s shell is due to a phenomenon called pareidolia—an innate ability to find faces in random objects. (source)