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50 Well-Known "Facts" That Are Actually Just Common Myths

50 Well-Known "Facts" That Are Actually Just Common Myths

Sometimes it can be hard to separate fact from fiction, especially when so many of the "facts" we've spent our whole lives believing are actually enduring myths and misconceptions. These common myths seem true because we've heard them time and time again—we may have even learned them from our parents, or been taught them at school. Nevertheless, it's more important than ever to call out the false facts that far too many people still believe, whether they're related to our furry friends or the current pandemic. Read on to discover the truth behind some of the most persistent common myths


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1 Bulls get angry when they see the color red.

You're hardly alone if you believe that it's the bright color that incites their anger. But, according to the American Science Guidebulls are red-green colorblind. What actually triggers the bull's anger is the movement of the cape.

2 Goldfish only have a three-second memory.

Goldfish have a reputation of having bad memories. But not only has this false fact been debunked by several studies throughout the years—some research even indicates goldfish could have a memory span of up to five months long.


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3 We only use 10 percent of our brains.

Neurologist Barry Gordon told Scientific American that humans "use virtually every part of the brain" and most of the brain is "active almost all the time."

4 George Washington had wooden teeth.

It turns out our nation's first president wasn't rocking a pair of wooden chompers. The historians at the Washington Library say that while George Washington did suffer from dental problems, his dentures were composed of ivory, gold, lead, and even other human teeth—but never any wood. 


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5 Women accused of witchcraft were burned the stake during the Salem Witch Trials.

The myth that they were burned at the stake is most likely due to the fact that during the Medieval witch trials in Europe, it was common practice to execute the accused by savagely setting them on fire.

6 You need to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

If you're struggling to get to your eighth glass of water every day, don't feel bad—the quota isn't really a hard and fast rule for healthy living. The amount of water you need daily depends on many other factors.


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7 You'll get cramps if you go swimming right after you eat.

Yes, the body requires extra blood in order to digest, but not nearly enough to prevent the muscles in your arms and legs from working as they should.

8 In the days of Christopher Columbus, everyone thought the world was flat.

Allegedly, around 500 B.C., the Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was the first person to propose the theory that the Earth was flat. But not long thereafter, in the middle of the third century B.C., Aristotle declared with certainty that the Earth was, in fact, spherical. 


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9 Dogs only see in black and white.

No, your pup isn't seeing the world in black and white. Veterinarian Barbara Royal explained to HuffPost that dogs "don't see all of the colors that we see, but they can actually distinguish between colors."

10 Adding salt to water makes it boil faster.

Chemistry professor Lesley-Ann Giddings explained to LiveScience, "The temperature of saltwater will get hotter faster than that of pure water, but it still has a higher boiling point, and the mass is still greater when you add salt to the same volume of water. This doesn't mean that the saltwater boils faster."


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11 It takes seven years for your body to digest gum.

You no long longer have to fret over that piece of gum you accidentally swallowed a couple years back. You see, gum doesn't stay in your stomach—it just moves quickly through your digestive system and exits through your stool.

12 You swallow eight spiders a year while sleeping.

According to Scientific American, they don't intentionally try to come into contact with humans, and the vibrations that come from a sleeping person would probably frighten a spider.


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13 The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.

According to Snopes, this false fact most likely developed as an attempt to convey the grand scale of the wall. From low space at 180 miles high, the Great Wall is not the only visible object, nor is it the most distinguishable. 

14 Marie Antoinette said "let them eat cake" to spite the poor.

She's long been a loathed symbol of royal decadence for replying to the news that French citizens had no bread in 1789 with the callous phrase, "Let them eat cake." But historians aver that the Queen of France made no such comment.


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15 Napoleon Bonaparte was extremely short.

However, Bonaparte was most likely average height at just over 5'5" tall, History says. Historians suppose the myth that he was uncommonly small is derived from a series of caricatures of the general by British cartoonist James Gillray in the early 1800s.

16 A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could kill someone.

According to Scientific Americana penny is too small and flat for it to gain enough natural momentum to make any kind of fatal impact. At most, if you were hit, it might feel like being flicked in the forehead.


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17 Albert Einstein failed math class.

It's fun to imagine that Albert Einstein was a poor student. Einstein himself claimed that he was at the top of his class in primary school. "Before I was 15, I had mastered differential and integral calculus," he added.

18 You have to wait 24 hours before submitting a missing person's report.

Fortunately, this is only a "fact" in the fictional world of entertainment. Apparently there is no time period in which someone must wait before reporting a person missing. In fact, acting within the first 48 hours is crucial to successfully locating a missing person.


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19 Touching a toad will give you warts.

Sadly, kissing a toad won't turn it into a handsome prince. But the good news is, touching one won't give you unsightly bumps. National Geographic says this rumor probably originated from the fact that toads themselves have wart-like bumps on their skin.

20 The forbidden fruit in the story of Adam and Eve is an apple.

The apple depiction was the result of some confusion with the Hebrew Bible being translated into Latin, using the term "malus," which translates to both "evil" and "apple."


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21 Your hair and fingernails continue to grow after you die.

It's true that a person's hair and nails may appear longer after their death. But, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, that's only because the skin around a person nails and hair retracts over time due to dehydration of the body, not because their hair and nails are actually growing.

22 If you touch a baby bird with your bare hands, its mother will reject it.

"In general, wild animals bond with their young and do not quickly abandon them," Laura Simon of the Humane Society of the United States explained.


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23 Drinking alcohol raises your body temperature.

While you may feel warmer when you drink alcohol, that's the booze and your brain getting together and playing tricks on the rest of your body. In reality, alcohol actually lowers your core body temperature.

24 Cracking your knuckles too much will cause arthritis.

Knuckle crackers of the world can rest easy, at least on the arthritis front, because, according to Harvard Medical School, cracking your knuckles doesn't increase your risk of developing the painful joint condition. That cracking noise actually comes from collapsing gas bubbles.


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25 Georgia produces the most peaches of any state in the U.S.

According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, California grew 541,000 tons of peaches in 2017. Meanwhile, Georgia wasn't even in the top three, even though peaches are its official state fruit!

26 Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

Many parents will blame their children's rowdy behavior on an overabundance of sugar, but there's no actual evidence to support those claims. A definitive 1995 meta-analysis found that sugar in children's diets does not affect their behavior.


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27 Bats are blind.

Contrary to popular belief—and the idiom "as blind as a bat"—these nocturnal creatures can absolutely see. In fact, as Rob Mies, former executive director for the Organization for Bat Conservation, told National Geographic, bats "can see three times better than humans." So joke's on us!

28 Lightning never strikes twice.

You've probably heard someone say that "lightning never strikes twice," but, it's not true. NASA debunked this myth in 2003, reporting that "lightning definitely strikes more than one place." In fact, it does so about a third of the time!


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29 Humans only have five senses.

Many of us were taught that humans have five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. But those are only the five basic senses. While this concept of the "five" senses originated with Aristotle, many scientists argue that humans actually have between 14 and 20 senses.

30 Shaving your hair makes it grow back thicker.

Shaving your hair doesn't make it change in color, rate of growth, or thickness, says the Mayo Clinic. All it does is give the hair a blunt tip, which might feel more coarse as it grows out.


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31 Chameleons change colors to blend in with their surroundings.

Yes, chameleons do have the ability to change colors, but the falsity here lies in why they do so. According to Wiredchameleons change colors to regulate their temperatures or communicate with other chameleons, not to camouflage themselves.

32 The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th.

While Congress indeed approved the final declaration on July 4, 1776, the document wasn't signed until Aug. 2 of that year.


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33 Bananas grow on trees.

We all know that money doesn't grow on trees, but many of us believe that bananas do. Sadly, we're mistaken again. Though they may look similar to trees, the Rainforest Alliance says that the plants bananas grow on are in fact "giant herbs related to lilies and orchids."

34 Dogs sweat through their tongues.

But, according to the American Kennel Club, dog's merocrine sweat glands function similarly to humans' and are located on their paw pads. They also have apocrine sweat glands, but these are located all over the body, not solely on their tongues.


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35 It's safe to eat food that's been on the floor for five seconds or less.

When researchers at Clemson University left bologna and bread on a surface contaminated with salmonella in a 2017 study, they found that "a substantial amount of bacteria transferred to the food within five seconds."

36 All deserts are hot.

Deserts are not defined by their temperatures, but by their lack of precipitation. And while most of the world's most famous deserts are indeed hot, there are some deserts that also experience brutal cold


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37 Fortune cookies originated in China.

But the National Museum of American History points out that the creator of the fortune cookie was Suyeichi Okamura, a Japanese immigrant who ran a confectionary store in Northern California during the early 1900s. 

38 The sun is yellow.

In reality, "the sun is essentially all colors mixed together, which appear to our eyes as white." The reason we see the sun as yellow or orange most of the time is because those colored wavelengths, which are longer, are the only ones that make it to our eyes. 


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39 Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's independence day.

 On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army successfully defeated France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Though the country's victory was short-lived, people all around the globe partake in celebrations commemorating this battle each year with fireworks and fiestas.

40 You should urinate on someone if they get stung by a jellyfish.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the proper way to treat a jellyfish sting is with hot water. Not only is urine not an effective treatment method, but it can even worsen the sting!


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41 President Richard Nixon was successfully impeached

Official impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon began in May 1974, but the 37th president announced his resignation on Aug. 8 before anyone could successfully force him out of office.

42 Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs.

Brown eggs are no healthier than white eggs. The color of an egg's shell is simply determined by the type of chicken laying them. And here's a fun fact: Chickens with white earlobes typically lay white eggs!


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43 Going outside with wet hair makes you sick

Stepping outside in sub-zero temperatures right after you wash your hair might make you chilly—and it might cause your hair to freeze—but it won't get you sick. Colds are caused by a virus, and they don't care whether your hair is wet or dry.

44 Peanuts are a type of nut.

Despite the misleading name, peanuts are actually a type of legume. Though they're commonly served with nuts like walnuts and almonds, they are more closely related to clovers and chickpeas.


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45 Twinkies have no expiration date.

As Theresa Cogswell, former vice president for research and development at Interstate Bakeries Corp, told The Washington Post, the sweet snack only has a shelf life of 25 days.

46 There is one universal sign language.

Sign language is a manual form of communication, and there are variations depending on the country you're in. In the U.S., for instance, you'll find American Sign Language (ASL), which uses a one-handed finger-spelling alphabet, whereas British Sign Language (BSL) in the U.K. is a different language altogether that uses a two-handed alphabet


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47 Sugar causes headaches.

It's not the sugar itself that's causing your headache; it's a rapid drop in your blood sugar levels that wreaks havoc on your head. For some people, eating a carbohydrate-heavy meal causes excess production of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, which in turn makes glucose levels drop and results in that throbbing headache you so often experience after consuming one too many cupcakes.

48 Putting your laptop on your lap will cause infertility.

This myth gained traction in 2011 when Argentinian researchers published a study in the journal Fertility and Sterility.


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49 The odds are always 50-50 in a coin toss.

Stanford University researchers proved this wrong in 2007 when they flipped a lot of quarters and found that a coin was more likely to land on the face that it started on. The researchers put your actual odds at closer to 51-49.

50 Every living thing dies.

While yes, most living things do die eventually, there is one species of jellyfish that doesn't technically perish. Known as the Turritopsis dohrnii, this essentially immortal sea creature reverts back into a juvenile state after adulthood—so it can live out yet another life alongside its offspring!


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“𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒊𝒔 𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒆𝒏𝒋𝒐𝒚𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏.” 𝑸𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒏 3:185

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