We’re taught loads of scientific facts formally or informally from an early age. And they’re all said to be true and reinforced by our common sharing of them. As time progresses, scientists use new methods to find some of those facts (or, in some cases, rumors that are so pervasive they enter the common psyche as perceived true facts) wrong. In this list, we break down some so-called “facts” we believed to be true and show what the science really says.
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Blood in your veins is blue
The de-oxygenated blood returning to the heart through the veins is not truly blue. (It’s actually a darker red.) School diagrams show veins in blue for clarity, but the blue color for veins actually comes from light hitting our skin and scattering into the wavelength on the color spectrum we notice as blue.
Your fingers swell up from water
The swelling of your fingers at the pool or after long showers isn’t from absorbing water, rather it’s from your body narrowing blood vessels by contracting their muscle walls, causing them to look wrinkled. It’s believed this may have given our ancestors better grip in wet areas, though it’s been shown we can’t handle things any better with wrinkled digits.
Sunflowers follow the sun across the sky
Sunflowers don’t follow the sun across the sky but point East all day. Before the famous flower heads appear, though, the baby buds follow the sun to set the soon-to-be flowers in the right direction. Plants can be smart too.
Gum takes 7 years to digest
Maybe you remember hearing on The Magic School Bus that gum takes 7 years to digest. Not so. Gum, being indigestible as insoluble fiber, passes through your digestive system at the same rate as whatever else you ate that day.
Goldie the fish has a memory of 5 seconds
Your home goldfish has a better memory than you think. A goldfish’s memory doesn’t last just a few seconds; rather, it’s upward of a few months.