There's a reason why whole books, podcasts, and websites are dedicated to "fun facts" - because they are exactly that: fun. In addition, trivia nights have taken over the country as people get together to test their smarts about random facts. Whether it's learning that whales were originally land animals, or what the deadliest mammal on the planet is, humans just enjoy expanding their trivia knowledge.
Science, history, the natural wood, the entire universe - it's all full of fascinating facts, and this list comprises some of the most fascinating of those nuggets. You probably haven't heard them before, but they'll definitely leaving you wanting to know more. And they just might help you finally beat Grandma at Trivial Pursuit.
- 1693 VOTES
'The World's Loneliest Whale' Vocalizes At Its Own Frequency
In December 1992, acoustic technicians at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station picked up an odd sound in the ocean. Although it sounded somewhat like a blue whale, it was registering at 52 hertz, rather than the more typical 15-39 hertz for the species. This whale, it appeared, was traversing the Pacific Ocean singing its own unique song.
The technicians tracked the whale every year during its migrations. Nothing else seemed unique about its behavior, just the pitch of the song, and the fact the cetacean was always traveling alone. As more people began to hear about "52," it became known as "the world's loneliest whale." Other lonely souls sympathized with it. The whale has since inspired tattoos, songs, and even sculptures.
More recently, some researchers believe 52 could be a blue whale/fin whale hybrid, which might account for its unique "voice" and solitary habits. As of 2014, 52 was still out there, singing its lonely song.
- 2603 VOTES
Chimpanzees Have Declared War On Gorillas
After millennia of seemingly coexisting peacefully, chimpanzees and gorillas are suddenly in a deadly battle. In early 2019, German researchers noticed increasing violence between the species while observing them inside Loango National Park in Gabon.
While studying the behaviors of chimps in the park, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Osnabrück University witnessed a brutal attack by two dozen chimps on a group of five Western lowland gorillas, including one baby. The ambush resulted in a long fight between the groups, and the demise of the baby gorilla. Later that year, another attack by a large group of chimps took place in the same park. Again, the gorillas were largely outnumbered, and a baby gorilla died.
While they're both primates - and are even in the same family, Hominidae - the two are very different in temperament. Gorillas tend to be gentle, whereas chimpanzees are well known for their violent tendencies. Although their aggression has mostly been directed internally, researchers believe chimps may be feeling increasingly threatened by gorillas due to various changes to their environment. Decreasing territory and fewer food sources might be making the chimps extra aggressive. But where and when the war will end, nobody knows.
- 3473 VOTES
Eating Polar Bear Liver Can Poison Humans
Liver is rich in nutrients and healthy fats. For centuries, it has been a staple of many diets. But, if you're ever starving in the Arctic and the opportunity presents itself, you should not eat the liver of a polar bear.
Western explorers found this out the hard way. Accounts dating back to 1596 document alarming illness people suffered after consuming polar bear liver, with symptoms including vomiting, severe headache, blurry vision, and bone pain. Less fortunate victims also experienced peeling skin, from mild flaking to full-on peeling that left the bottom layers bloody. Extreme cases resulted in liver damage, coma, and even death.
This was likely caused by high amounts of retinol, a form of vitamin A, found in the liver, resulting in acute hypervitaminosis A. Because the human body can't process vitamin A like many other nutrients (getting rid of excess through urination), the nutrient ends up accumulating in the liver. Too much too fast, and the liver can't process the vitamin quickly enough, creating toxicity. For the record, if you're abandoned in the Arctic, also avoid the livers of seals and huskies.
- 4533 VOTES
Penguins Will Trade Pebbles For Sex
Penguins are not only adorable, but also can be held up as paragons of traditional family values. Believed to be mostly monogamous, penguins are the Puritans of the natural world. Except that sometimes, naughty penguins of various species will trade sex for rocks.
In the summer months of the Arctic, when penguins' nests are in danger of being flooded and destroyed, many females will look for extra rocks and pebbles to shore up their nests. Sometimes they target the nests of single males. Sensing the males' desperation, they'll offer a quick tryst for the trade of a pebble or two. Some ladies even only go so far as flirting before sneaking off with what they want.
- 5526 VOTES
Hippos Are The Deadliest Mammals
Lions, rhinos, and even elephants are all deadly in their own right. When you think of their teeth, horns, tusks, or size, you might guess that any one of them was the deadliest animal in Africa. Instead, that trophy goes to the hippopotamus. Not only are hippos the deadliest animals on that continent, but they're the deadliest mammals in the world (aside from humans).
It's estimated hippos kill around 500 humans every year, nearly twice the number of victims lions might claim. Although they are herbivores, hippos are known to attack when they feel threatened - such as when a human is in their territory. With lower canines that can grow more than a foot long, it's no wonder that one bite is all that's needed to kill a human.
- 6500 VOTES
Kangaroos Are Incapable Of Jumping Backward
Kangaroos are known for their powerful bottom halves. They have large feet, strong tails, and powerful legs that can propel them to jump approximately 30 feet.
Despite their strength, these athletic marsupials cannot jump backward. They can't even walk backward. Their long, muscular tails and feet prevent them from being able to move in that direction. They cannot move their feet independently either, meaning they can only hop to their destinations.