Do you remember listening to your teacher during a lesson a kid and taking everything they said as fact? Then, later in life, you learned that daddy long legs aren’t really spiders and that Twinkies don’t really last forever. It’s easy for the truth to get misrepresented as a kid or for a schoolyard gossip to make its way into your memory. These are the biggest “truths” you spent your whole life believing that turned out the be wrong.
Coffee Doesn’t Dehydrate You
There’s a commonly-held misconception that your morning cup of coffee will dehydrate you. While it is true that drinking coffee will make you have to use the bathroom more frequently, there is no evidence to suggest that this will dehydrate you.
Dr. Daniel Vigil, an associate professor at UCLA, says, “When you drink a cup of coffee or you drink a glass of iced tea, you are necessarily taking in a volume of fluid along with that dose of [caffeine].”
Daddy Long Legs Aren’t Spiders
Because daddy long legs are arachnids, we tend to believe that means they are also spiders. The fact is there are many different kinds of arachnids, and daddy long legs belong to the group known as harvestmen.
Once you know the truth, you can start to learn just how different harvestmen are from spiders. First off, daddy long legs have two eyes, spiders have eight. Daddy long legs also have a fused head, abdomen, and thorax, whereas spiders have a distinct separation of their body cavities.
Tilting Your Head Back Won’t Stop A Bloody Nose
If you’ve ever gotten a bloody nose, you’ve probably heard at least one person tell you to tilt your head back to help stop it. If you want to swallow your own blood that’s definitely an option. If you want to stop the bloody nose, though, you should actually do the opposite.
When that pesky nosebleed happens, sit up straight and lean your head forward slightly. And don’t forget to apply pressure. As annoying as they are, most bloody noses clear up in 10 to 20 minutes.
Cracking Your Knuckles Won’t Cause Joint Problems
According to experts, there is no correlation between cracking your knuckles and future joint problems. The sound of knuckles cracking can be bothersome, which is most likely how this lie took off.
The sound of cracking knuckles, however, isn’t cracking at all. It’s actually the sound of gas bubbles popping as you increase the space between your joints. If you crack too hard, you may suffer an injury to your tendons, but this rare.
The Winter Doesn’t Make You More Likely To Catch A Cold
While there is some truth to the statement that you are more likely to get sick during colder months, it’s more coincidence than anything else.
As Shannon Fecher of UnityPoint Health explains, “Can you get sick from being cold? Yes, but not in terms of a cold or the flu. This comes from frostbite and/or even hypothermia. If you get frostbite or hypothermia, this can weaken the immune system, which leaves you more at-risk for getting illnesses, such as the common cold and/or the flu.”
Twinkies Don’t Last Forever
While movies like Zombieland have spread the myth that Twinkies will last forever, the truth is harder to swallow. Thanks to the preservative sorbic acid, the sponge cake with a cream filling stays good for about 25 days.
Once those days are up, the snack food will begin to lose its texture and flavor. As proof that Twinkies don’t last forever, one school in Maine has held onto one for 40 years. In that time it has turned gray and hard.
We Use More Than Ten Percent Of Our Brain
Although the myth that humans only use ten percent of their brains has been thoroughly disproved, it’s still prevalent in society. Movies like Lucy and Limitless have even centered their plots about what happens when the “other 90 percent” is unlocked.
In an interview with Scientific American neurologist Barry Gordon explained that at any given moment, a majority of the brain is always active. It’s time to put the ten percent myth to bed.
Gum Doesn’t Stays In Your Gut For Seven Years
Chewing gum is not meant to be digested, and to dissuade kids from swallowing it, parents like to say that it will stay in your stomach for seven years. Just because gum isn’t made to be digested, however, doesn’t mean it will refuse to flush through your body.
In general, it will only take gum a few days to pass through your body. That doesn’t mean you should start swallowing gum when you’re done with it, though!
Vitamin C Isn’t A Miracle Cure
Back in the 1960s, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling (pictured) came up with the idea of “megadosing” on vitamin C. He claimed this would help prevent people from getting sick with common ailments.
Since then, the idea of “megadosing” has been proven wrong although it is still used as a marketing trick for supplement brands. It is true, of course, that vitamin C will help reduce how long a cold lasts, but it will not stop you from getting sick.
Bats Aren’t Actually Blind
Because we’re taught about how bats use echolocation in school, we tend to believe that means they are blind. According to National Geographic, not only are bats able to see just fine, some species can even see three times better than humans!
Speaking of echolocation – not all bats rely on it to find food. Fruit bats, for example, don’t use echolocation at all. Fun fact, another name for fruit bats is “megabats.”
Salt Doesn’t Boils Water Faster
Salt might make food taste better, but it does not make water boil faster. Adding salt to your pot of H20 will actually make it boil more slowly. Oddly enough, adding salt will make your pasta cook faster.
Because adding salt to water will increase the temperature needed to make it boil, the pasta you drop in cooks at a higher temperature. That higher temperature results in noticeably faster cooking time.
You Don’tNeed To Wait 30 Minutes To Swim After Eating
You do not have to wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming. This popular falsity was spread through a past belief that blood would be sent to your gut to aid in digestion after eating. With less blood in your legs and arms, you would fatigue more easily.
In 1908, the Boy Scout handbook Scouting for Boys further perpetuated the myth, writing, “You may drown—and it will be your own fault.”
Carrots Don’t Make You See Better
For years carrots have been branded as having a superpower — the ability to improve a person’s eyesight. The false truth comes from the fact that carrots are high in vitamin A, a nutrient that helps your eyes see clearer in low light conditions.
A lack of vitamin A in a body may also lead to blindness, so keep eating carrots. Just don’t expect to suddenly be able to stop wearing glasses in the process.
Elephants Are Terrified Of Mice
If you grew up watching the movie Dumbo, you may believe that elephants are terrified of mice. While the movie may have fooled audiences into believing this to be true, the facts don’t add up.
What is true is that elephants have poor eyesight, so they could be startled by a fast-moving mouse or rat. That does not mean they will stampede away in utter fear of an animal that is a fraction of their size.
Goldfish Don’t Have A Three-Second Memory
There have been several experiments produced that prove goldfish have a memory that lasts for more than three seconds. Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters fame even trained his fish to run an obstacle course.
More famously, a study at the University of Plymouth trained goldfish to use a lever to earn food as a reward. The lever was only activated for one hour of the day, so not only did the fish have to remember how it worked, they had to remember at what time it worked!
Chameleons Don’t Camouflage By Changing Colors
The ability of a chameleon to change color is not actually a self-defense mechanism. The reptiles might be able to blend in with their surroundings sometimes, but more often than not, they are using their color-changing ability to communicate with one another.
Every chameleon has four layers of skin. Three of those layers have various colors and preset patterns. By changing colors in front of each other, they can help better display their emotions and how they’re reacting to their environment
Melatonin Isn’t A Sedative
All across the world, people struggle with sleep. Many turn to melatonin, which has been marketed as an all-natural sleeping aid. Taken in pill form, the naturally-produced hormone is commonly confused as a sedative.
Taking melatonin won’t make you fall asleep, but it will assist in helping you get a better night’s rest. Just be warned, by taking the supplement, you can develop a resilience to melatonin and actually decrease your ability to stay asleep.
Dogs DO Sweat
Dogs do sweat, they just don’t sweat from where you might expect them to. The sweat glands for dogs are located on the paws. When they do sweat, the moisture released helps them grip the ground easier.
To regulate temperature a dog will pant, which is why it’s commonly believed that dogs don’t sweat. Panting helps to lower body temperature by allowing water to evaporate from a canine’s nasal passages and tongue.
Water Isn’t Stored In A Camel’s Hump
We’re not sure what started the rumor that camels store water in their humps, but the truth is they actually use their humps to store fat. By loading up on fat, up to 80 pounds of it at a time, camels can survive three weeks without “refueling.”
Camels also have oval-shaped red blood cells, and highly efficient intestines and kidneys that allow them to stay hydrated without a nearby water source.
Alcohol Doesn’t Warms You Up
When you drink, you might suddenly feel warmer, but that doesn’t mean you are. As much as you might want to reach for an old fashioned in the dead of winter, choosing hot chocolate instead might be the better choice.
The facts on this one are clear; drinking alcohol actually lowers your body temperature. This causes your blood vessels to constrict and rise to the surface, making your skin feel warmer.
The Sun Doesn’t Create The Seasons
Believing that the sun, and the Earth’s proximity to it, is the reason for the seasons seems logical but isn’t the whole truth. The closer we get to the sun, the warmer the weather gets, meaning if the sun controlled the seasons, we probably wouldn’t have four distinct variations.
The reason for the four seasons is that the Earth rotates on a tilted axis. Scientists at NASA believe this tilt was created by another space-bound object crashing into the earth.
Ancient Statues In Greece Weren’t Always Colorless
Today, almost every statue we have recovered from ancient Greek sites all lack one thing — color. This has led many to falsely believe that grey statues were all that was ever built back then.
If we could take a time machine and travel back to ancient Greece, we’d find the statues were actually decorated with vibrant colors that wore away over time. Artists of the era practiced polychromy, which means exactly that.
Snakes Can’t Always Unhinge Their Jaws
Snakes cannot unhinge their jaws to swallow large prey. What they can do is stretch their jaws to open their mouths really wide. This is because their upper and lower jawbones are not fused together.
Instead, these bones are connected by stretchy ligaments that allow the snake to open their mouths extremely wide. To human eyes, it looks like they are unhinging their jaws, but we promise you they are not.
Bulls Don’t Hate The Color Red
If anyone has ever told you that bulls hate the color red, they were wrong. Bulls are colorblind, so they can’t actually see the color red. When you watch a bull going after a matador, they are actually responding to the person’s movement, not the color of the cape.
The bull is upset by the movement and trying to make it stop. The fact that the cape is red has just become a recognizable detail for audiences to react to.
Without Oxygen, Our Blood Is Blue
Even though our veins can appear blue at times, the blood flowing through them is always red. Depending on how oxygenated our blood is, it may appear to be a lighter or darker red, but it is never blue.
Our veins appear blue for another reason entirely. When light hits our skin, it reflects back at a certain wavelength, and that wavelength is responsible for the blue hue we can’t help but see.
Black Holes Don’t Have Endless Gravity
One of the biggest misconceptions about black holes is that they have an endless gravitational pull. If that were true, then everything in existence would slowly be getting sucked into one right now.
As with any large object in space, if you get close enough you will get pulled in by its gravitational pull. If you stay a safe distance away, however, you will be just fine. Aside from being pulled into a state of “awe,” of course.
Lightning Can Strike The Same Place Twice
Lightning isn’t picky. Let’s get that out of way right now. Lightning has no choice about where its strikes, it’s a naturally occurring phenomenon. Did you know that the Empire State Building in New York, for example, is struck 23 times on average per year?
So where did the saying come from? Most likely it was originated on the pages of The Melbourne Daily Newspaper in 1851 and spread from there.
Your Tongue Doesn’t Have “Taste Sectors”
In school, we were taught all about taste, and how putting food on different parts of the tongue would create a different tasting experience. Our teachers said that there was a tongue map with “taste sectors” set to identify different traits — salty, sweet, sour, and bitter.
This idea of the tongue map was first created by a German scientist in 1901 and has since been disproved. Taste buds all over your tongue are able to identify all four flavor sectors, five if you count umami.
The Great Wall Of China Isn’t Visible From Space
If you ever found yourself in a space station orbiting the Earth and looking down, would you be able to see the Great Wall of China? According to Yang Liwei, a Chinese astronaut who tried, he could not.
He could see other man-made structures though. As cities light up at night, they become visible to astronauts in space. So, even if Yang Liwei could see the Great Wall from space, it would not be the only structure visible.
Bananas Don’t Grow On Trees
Because of how tall banana plants are, we don’t hold it against you if you thought that the sweet berry grew on trees. The plant they come from reaches heights of 25 feet tall and is considered the world’s largest perennial herb.
Also, a common misconception about bananas is that they are fruits. As you just saw, we referred to them as berries, which they are because they don’t produce mature seeds.