11 Surprising Mysteries Scientists Can’t Explain

Despite what cable news may tell you, scientists don’t really squabble over if evolution is real (it is) or if the climate is changing faster than can be explained by naturally-occurring phenomena (it is) or if vaccines are regarded as safe and recommended for most children (they are). Sure, there may be fine points within those categories that are debatable, but not to the extent that is commonly described by talking heads on TV. However, that’s not to say that scientists perfectly understand everything about the ways of the Universe. Here, we have compiled 11 mysteries from our everyday live, that scientists can’t explain.




1. Cats purr but why and how?

cat purring, explain, science, scientists

Many of us are familiar with that moment, when a cat is making itself comfortable in your lap, it looks at you, starts to close it eyes and even before you hear it you start to feel the purring. Although we might think that it is a sign of attraction, that simple purring is a tremendous mystery for modern science. Scientists can’t explain the mechanism behind the purring and believe it or not, they don’t even know why cats purr at all. Scientists claim that they use their vocal cords to make the vibrating sounds but they still have not been able to prove this claim. Having no scientific explanation, the most adequate theory to this day is that cats use their purring to put a spell on us, that makes us feed and pet them unconditionally, turning us into their slaves.

2. Do cows have a magnetic compass?

cows, compass, north, south, east, west

After analyzing satellite photos of thousands of cows around the world, scientists started to see a pattern among cattle. Most cattle that were grazing or resting tended to align their bodies in a north-south direction. According to the study led by Hynek Burda and Sabine Begall of the faculty of biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, regardless of what continent, terrain, weather and other factors the cattle were on, they aligned their bodies in a north-south direction. Scientists say that the magnetic field of the Earth has to be considered as a factor but are still unsure of how they are able to detect them.




3. How many planets are in the solar system?

solar system, earth, sun

Although scientists have ousted Pluto from the original nine group of planets that form our solar system, there have been objects identified beyond Pluto that are larger in size. The Kuiper belt beyond Pluto consists of icy objects. Scientists discovered thousands of objects in that area that are even bigger than Pluto. They also noticed a large gap in the Kuiper belt — some unknown planet as big as Earth pulled all the stones from the belt to itself. So, if we apply the logic relating to size, should these objects be counted as planets? Another mystery waiting to be solved.

4. Why do we dream?

dream, scientists, science, sleep, awake

Some believe that dreams are an expression of our deepest desires and experiences. Others claim that our dreams are an interconnection of images and brain waves. The study of dreams is called oneirology. Scientists claim that dreams symbolize something hidden deep in the human psyche but no one knows what exactly.

5. Why do we have different blood types?

blood bag, type

Blood transfusion is a modern day miracle and you can’t help but wonder why we haven’t thought of that before. The fact is that people have attempted blood transfusion even in ancient times but they couldn’t figure out why it sometimes worked and sometimes was complete disaster. It was only after we discovered the blood types, that we found a way for safe blood transfusion. But that also brought another question – “why do we have different blood types”? There is a suggestion that they are related to diseases and immunity. People with type B blood are more susceptible to E. coli; people with type O blood are at less risk of dying from malaria.




6. Why are people right-handed and left-handed?

FACEBOOK like, symbol, left handed, right handed

Most of us know at least one left handed person and we always find it interesting when we see them write or do some other task that is typically done with the right hand. We even feel sorry for them sometimes for living in a world built for right handed people. Most humans (70% to 95%) are right-handed, and a minority (5% to 30%) are left-handed. Genes have an influence but a “left-handed gene” isn’t identified. Social environments are also an influence: when left-handed kids are made to write with their right hand, some of them become right-handed.

7. What is the placebo effect?

Placebo effect, mediciine, sugar
Image source: YouTube

This is the name we gave to the strange phenomenon of our bodies positive reaction to fake medicine. The fact is that when you ingest a headache pill usually it is not the pill that stops the headache, and you would’ve gotten the same result from a sugar lump. Scientists have a theory that when we take the medicine, our brain assumes that things are going to get better and it is no longer necessary to ring any bells and whistles. However the placebo effect had been observed in cases where heart conditions had improved and asthma related problems have faded and even limb injuries have improved after a fake surgery, which contradicts this theory.




8. What is dark matter?

Dark matter
Image Source: wonderopolis.org

Aside from the obvious fact that it is pretty dark, we have no clue what dark matter is. Scientists came to the conclusion that dark matter exist, because without it, nothing in the universe that we observe will be this way. So they have stated that about 27% of all the matter in the universe is dark matter. Ask them what dark matter is, and you will get a hour long explanation which in short means, “we don’t know”. It is called dark matter, because it doesn’t emit or reflect any light, and we still have no way of detecting or observing it.

9. Suicidal whales.

Suicidal whales
Image source: Wikimedia

We often hear stories in the news about whales or dolphins who beach themselves. Although the reason behind it is unclear, scientists  as well as animal activists have come up with a couple of theories, but to this day none of them is proven. Most activists like the theory that people are to blame for this strange behavior of our favorite marine mammals. They suggest that our sonar signals are messing up with the whales delicate navigation system. Others say that the pollution in the oceans is driving the whales towards the shore as a desperate attempt to escape the toxic waters. However the fact is that similar cases of whales stuck ashore have been documented for thousands of years, long before we invented the sonar and modern day toxic substances.

10. What was the “gelatinous” rain?

What was the "gelatinous" rain?
Image source: YouTube

An unusual phenomenon occurred in Oakville, Washington, in August 1994. Instead of rain, jelly-like substances fell from the sky. The next day, dozens of people got flu-like symptoms. Scientists analyzed the substance and found that it contained two types of bacteria, one of which is usually found in the human digestive system. However, they couldn’t find a connection between the bacteria and the mysterious epidemic.




11. Two-headed Blue Sharks.

two headed sharks
Image source: Starturkeynews.com

Lately, there has been a rise in the discovery of two-headed sharks and scientists can’t explain why this is happening. According to Daily Mail, it all started in 2008, when an Australian fisherman reportedly caught a two-headed blue shark embryo. Lately they are starting to emerge everywhere in the world. In 2013, Florida fishermen caught a Bull shark with a two-headed fetus. Recently a Spanish fisherman caught a catshark with a two-headed fetus. Scientists concluded that most likely the two-headed sharks don’t live too long and this is the reason nobody had seen one so far.

Bonus: Did Russia find an Alien Spaceship wrecked in the ice?

Alien ship, wreckage
Image source: reflectionofmind.org

A UFO hunter claims to have found the crash site and wreckage of an alien craft that he believes may have gone down in the Antarctic. Not so long ago they claimed to find a wrecked Alien Spaceship and leaked the photos online. The Russian government claimed that they have been focusing on looking for Aliens underneath instead of in outer space like the leading countries in the world; such as US, Germany and China. No one really knows if the spaceship or the images are real.

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