1 | Pregnancy tests have been around since 1350 BC
According to a document written on an ancient papyrus, Egyptian women urinated on wheat and barley seeds to determine if they were pregnant or not, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of History. If the wheat grew, it predicted the birth of a girl. If the barley grew, it foreshadowed the birth of a male child. A woman is not pregnant if nothing has grown. Experiments with this initial theory in 1963 showed that it was accurate 70% of the time.
2 | Europeans were afraid to eat tomatoes when they were introduced
Scholars believe that Hernán Cortes brought the seeds in 1519 with the intention of using the fruit as an ornament in gardens. By the 1700s, aristocrats began to eat tomatoes, but they were convinced that the fruit was poisonous because people would die after eating it. In fact, the acidity of the tomatoes released lead in their pewter plates, and they actually died from lead poisoning.
3 | The man with the deepest voice in the world can make sounds that people can’t hear
The man, Tim Storms, can’t even hear the note eight octaves below the lowest G on the piano, but elephants can.
4 | Cows do not have upper front teeth
They have molars at the top, at the back of their mouths, but where you’d expect upper incisors, cows, sheep, and goats have a thick layer of tissue called a dental pad. They use this with their lower teeth to pull out grass.
5 | Thanks to 3D printing, NASA can send tools to astronauts via email
Delivering new hardware to the space station used to take months or years, but the new technology means tools are ready within hours.
6 | Only a quarter of the Sahara Desert is covered with sand
Most of it is covered with gravel, although there are also mountains and oases. And here’s another geographical fact that everyone misunderstands: it’s not the largest desert in the world. There is Antarctica.
7 | Bananas grow upside down
Or technically, we peel them upside down. Naturally, they grow outward from their stems, but this means that their lower part is actually facing the sky. As they get bigger, the fruits turn towards the sun, forming a characteristic curve.
8 | When dinosaurs were alive, there were active volcanoes on the moon
Most volcanoes probably stopped erupting about a billion years ago, but NASA research suggests that there could still have been active lava flow 100 million years ago when dinosaurs were still roaming.
9 | Dogs sniff pleasant odors through their left nostrils
Dogs usually start sniffing through the right nostril and then keep it there if the scent could signal danger, but they move to the left side for something pleasurable like food or a mating partner. If you are a dog lover, I am sure you are listening to this for the first time.
10 | Avocado named after reproductive organs
You will never look at an avocado the same way again. The native peoples of Mexico and Central America used the Nahuatl word āhuacatl to mean both “testicles” and “avocados”. The fruit was originally sold as “alligator pears” in the United States until the current name stuck.