35 True Science Facts You Didn't Know...Until Now

Roses have hips?

Researchers studying chemistry, biology, astronomy, and genetics continually unlock mysteries and find fascinating facts about the planet, its inhabitants, and the universe. Did you know that:

  • A killer whale is actually a really big dolphin?
  • Giraffes have blue tongues?
  • You can actually eat rose petals? 

It's true! Here are 35 interesting facts about science that you may not have known were true...until now. ​

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When Scientists Didn’t Exist

Isaac Newton was a scientist before scientists even existed. Imagno/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before the 17th century, science and scientists were not truly recognized. At first, people like the 17th century genius Isaac Newton were called natural philosophers, because there was no concept of the word "scientist" at the time.

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The Missing J

Nope. You won't find any of these on the Periodic Table. bgblue/Digital Vision Vectors/Getty Images

The only letter that doesn't appear on the periodic table is J. Don't believe us? Check it out for yourself. 

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Expanding Cubes

This ice cube? Actually denser than the water used to make it. Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

An ice cube takes up about 9 percent more volume than the water used to make it.  

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The Temperature of Lightning

Lightning is both beautiful, and dangerous. John E Marriott/All Canada Photos/Getty Images

A lightning strike can reach a temperature of 30,000 C or 54,000 F. About 400 people are hit by lightning each year. Shocking!

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Rusty Mars

Rust makes Mars appear red. NASA / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

On Mars, iron oxide forms a rust dust that floats in the atmosphere and creates a coating across much of the landscape. 

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When Hot Water Freezes Over

Yes, hot water can freeze faster than cold. Jeremy Hudson / Photodisc / Getty Images

Hot water can freeze faster than cold water. However, it does not always happen, nor has science explained exactly why it can happen. 

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Insects Sleep

Yes, insects do sleep. Tim Flach/ Stone/ Getty Images

Insects clearly rest at times and are aroused only by strong stimuli—the heat of day, the darkness of night, or perhaps a sudden attack by a predator. This state of deep rest is called torpor and is the closest behavior to true sleep that bugs exhibit.

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Everyone's Your Relative

Humans share 99% of their DNA with other humans. Science Photo Library - PASIEKA / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Every human being has 99 percent of their DNA in common. A parent and child share 99.5 percent of the same DNA, and you have 98 percent of your DNA in common with a chimpanzee.

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What a Wingspan

The Queen Alexandra Birdwing ( female (above) and male (below) ) is the the world's largest butterfly. "Ornithoptera alexandrae" by MP_-_Ornithoptera_alexandrae_3.jpg: Mark Pellegrini (Raul654)Ornithoptera_alexandrae_nash.jpg: Robert Nash derivative work: Bruno P. Ramos (talk) - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the world’s largest butterfly, with a wingspan of up to 12 inches. It is found only in Papua New Guinea and is considered endangered.

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Einstein's Stolen Brain

Albert Einstein in 1946. Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images

After Albert Einstein's death in 1955, pathologist Thomas Harvey at Princeton Hospital conducted an autopsy in which he removed Albert Einstein's brain. Rather than putting the brain back in the body, Harvey decided to keep it for study. Harvey did not have permission to keep Einstein's brain, but days later, he convinced Einstein's son that it would help science. 

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Ears on Their Stomach?

Grasshopper "ears" are in the most unlikely of places. Jim Simmen/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

On each side of the first abdominal segment of a grasshopper, tucked under the wings, you'll find membranes that vibrate in response to sound waves. This simple eardrum, called a tympana, allows the grasshopper to hear the mating songs of members of their species.

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That's Sharp

The human body is made of up of many strange components. comotion_design/Vetta/Getty Images

Six elements account for 99 percent of the mass of the human body: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The human body contains enough carbon for 9,000 pencils.

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Carrying Colorblindness

Women are usually just the carriers of the genetic mutation for colorblindness, which is passed on through the X chromosome. It is mostly men who inherit colorblindness, affecting about 1 in 20 men for every 1 in 200 women.

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The Importance of Good Grooming

Termites may not be your favorite insect, but they are fascinating. Doug Cheeseman/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Termites spend a great deal of time grooming each other. Their good hygiene is important to their survival, as it keeps parasites and harmful bacteria under control within the colony.

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The Usefulness of Spit

Saliva is why you can taste food. David Trood / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Humans can't taste food without saliva. Chemoreceptors in the taste buds of your tongue require a liquid medium for the flavors to bind into the receptor molecules.   

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We're Mostly Bacteria

The human body has tons of bacteria. Henrik Jonsson / E+ / Getty Images

Scientists have estimated that about 95 percent of all the cells in the body are bacteria. The vast majority of these microbes can be found within the digestive tract. 

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Mercury's Not Mooning About It

The planet Mercury has no moons. SCIEPRO / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

While the planet Mercury may resemble our own moon in many ways, it has no moon of its own. 

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Going Out With a Flash

The sun will only get brighter from here. William Andrew / Photographer's Choice/ Getty Images

Over the next 5 billion years or so, the sun will grow steadily brighter as the hydrogen at its core gets used up, creating increased internal pressure and thus increased fuel conversion to helium. In 1.1 billion years, the planet could start to look like Venus. Eventually, the Sun will run out of hydrogen fuel and collapse. 

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Sunscreen for the Tongue

Giraffe tongues are blue. Buena Vista Images / Digital Vision / Getty images

Giraffe tongues are dark blue (or purplish or dark gray) and average around 20 inches in length. The length of their tongues allows them to browse for very highest, juiciest leaves on their favorite acacia trees, and the melanin in their tongues may protect them from UV rays—that is, getting sunburned.

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Lime-Brained Stegosaurus

Sorry, stegosaurus, you tried your best. Andrew Howe / E+ / Getty Images

Stegosaurus was equipped with an unusually small brain, about the size of a lime, comparable to that of a modern golden retriever. Carnivorous dinosaurs' brains were bigger than those of leaf-eaters, as they needed more gray matter to hunt mobile prey.

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Three-Hearted Cephalopod

Along with eight legs, an octopus has three hearts too. Paul Taylor / Stone / Getty Images

Love octopi? They'll love you more, with their three hearts. Two hearts are used to pump blood to each of the octopus' lungs, and the third pumps blood throughout the body. 

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Centenarian Tortoises

A Galapagos tortoise. Marc Shandro / Moment / Getty Images

Galapagos tortoises can live to be well over 100 years old. They also are the largest of all living tortoises, measuring up to 4 feet (1.2 m) long and weighting of over 350 lbs (158.8 kg). 

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Smoking Kills

Nicotine can be lethal to children in doses as small as 10 milligrams. Most commonly known as the addictive ingredient in tobacco products, nicotine is often mistakenly thought to be a harmless chemical. 

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Killer Whales and/or Dolphins

This guy? Yep, he's actually a dolphin. Tom Brakefield / Stockbyte / Getty Images

The killer whale, or orca, is considered a dolphin. The animals' name originally translated as "whale killer" but got flipped around. But a dolphin is one of 38 species of toothed whales, so maybe the name isn't so far off after all.

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Bat-Winged Flight

Bats are the only mammals that have wings. Ewen Charlton / Moment / Getty Images

Bats are the world's only group of mammals that have wings. Although some other groups of mammals are able to glide using skin membranes, only bats are capable of true flight.  

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Deadly Water

Drinking TOO much water can be bad for you. Stockbyte / Getty Images

It is possible to die from drinking too much water. Water intoxication and hyponatremia result when a dehydrated person drinks too much water without the accompanying electrolytes. 

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Floating Foul

If an egg floats in a glass of water, throw it away!. Nikada / E+ / Getty Images

What's one way to tell if an older egg is fresh? Put an egg in a container of water. If the egg sits at an angle or stands on one end, the egg is older but still edible. If the egg floats, it should be discarded if it smells or looks bad when cracked. Eggs accumulate air inside their air cell as they age, leading to increased floating as they get older.

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Heavyweight Ants

Ants can carry 50 times their own weight!. Gail Shumway/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Ants are capable of carrying objects 50 times their own body weight. Relative to their size, ant muscles are thicker than those of larger animals or even humans. This ratio enables them to produce more force and carry larger objects. 

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Built-In Water Goggles

A penguin in water. Pai-Shih Lee / Moment / Getty Images

Penguins' eyes work better underwater than in the air. This perk gives them superior eyesight to spot prey while hunting, even in cloudy, dark, or murky water.

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Radiating Bananas

Bananas are slightly radioactive. John Scott / E+ / Getty Images

Bananas contain high levels of potassium and thus are slightly radioactive. ​It's not something you need to worry about, because 0.01 percent of the potassium already in your body is the same radioactive type (K-40). Potassium is essential for proper nutrition.

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Arthritis Afflicts Anyone

Children can get arthritis, too. David Sucsy / E+ / Getty Images

The most popular misconception about arthritis is that it is an old person's disease. In reality, arthritis affects people of all ages, including about 300,000 American children. However, children tend to have a more favorable prognosis than older adults.

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The Acid That Melts It All

Even though it is highly corrosive and can dissolve glass, hydrofluoric acid is not considered to be a strong acid because it does not completely dissociate in water. Storage of it is usually in plastic containers, though, because it's so reactive with metal, ceramic, and glass.

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Add Flowers to Your Salad

Yes, rose petals are actually edilble. Smneedham / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Both rose hips and rose petals are edible. Roses are in the same family as apples and crabapples, so the resemblance of their fruits is not purely coincidental.

Caution: Don’t use rose hips from plants that have been treated with a pesticide unless it has been labeled for use on edibles.

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But It's Not Why the Sky Is Blue

Liquid oxygen looks like this. Warwick Hillier, Australia National University, Canberra

Oxygen gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. However, the liquid and solid forms are a pale blue color. 

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The Mysterious 95 Percent

Humans can't actually see most of the Universe. Corey Ford / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Humans can only see about 5 percent of the matter in the universe. The rest is made up of invisible matter (called dark matter) and a mysterious form of energy known as dark energy.