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What the what?

11 facts everyone knows that are actually completely wrong

Everything you know is a lie.

SO MANY INACCURACIES have seeped into our brains and lodged there, be they from long-standing urban myths and legends or even (if you can believe it) from incorrect school textbooks.

Here are some of the more surprising misconceptions we hold today.

1. Romans didn’t actually vomit in between meals

Our school history books lead us to believe the Romans would vom up their food in between courses at dinner parties to make room for more.

vomitorium Flickr / improvnyc Flickr / improvnyc / improvnyc

The ‘vomitorium’ was not a special room for them to spew in, but an architectural feature – the entranceway through which people entered a stadium.

2. You can’t digest chewing gum at all

So if you swallow it, it won’t stay in your gut for seven years – it’ll pass through the digestive system like everything else. Chew in peace.

tumblr_lqh02cFYFo1qdlkgg Tumblr Tumblr

3. A goldfish’s memory is longer than three seconds

Common_goldfish Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons

Well, almost everything. A goldfish memory can actually be measured in months.

4. Fortune cookies have nothing to do with Chinese food


You probably guessed this already, but the Chinese did not invent fortune cookies. They were introduced to the US by the Japanese.

5. The word ‘the’ was never pronounced ‘ye’ in Old or Middle English

14276567866_ba32fb37d3_b Flickr / George Rex Flickr / George Rex / George Rex

The mispronunciation is down to a tricky little Old/Middle English character called thorn, which looked similar to a y.

6. Bulls actually aren’t that bothered about the colour red

matador Flickr / Jesus Solana Flickr / Jesus Solana / Jesus Solana

Though red is commonly used in matadors’ capes, the colour actually doesn’t stand out to cows or bulls at all. The threat of the matador is what makes them charge.

7. Waking sleepwalkers won’t hurt them

Sleepwalking BlogSpot BlogSpot

Contrary to the urban legend, waking sleepwalkers won’t kill them. They’ll just be extremely confused.

8. The ‘wait an hour after eating to swim’ rule is probably rubbish

giphy Giphy Giphy

A 2005 study by the NYU School of Medicine found no real evidence of a correlation between eating food, stomach cramps and drowning. How about that.

9. Humans have more than five senses

human body

Yep. The actual number ranges from 9-20, and includes the senses of balance, pain, temperature, and body position.

10. It’s not harmful to pick up baby birds

babybirds Flickr / Bandelier National Monument Flickr / Bandelier National Monument / Bandelier National Monument

Their mother won’t reject them. But you should still leave them alone – their parents will get them.

11. A daddy longlegs CAN bite you

The daddy longlegs is said to be the most poisonous spider in the world, only its fangs are too small to bite anyone.

daddylonglegs Flickr / Liam Moloney Flickr / Liam Moloney / Liam Moloney

In reality, they can bite you, but the tiny amount of venom they carry will only give you a quick and mild burning sensation.

We don’t know if we should be scared or relieved.

h/t this Wikipedia page – heads up, only click if you want to lose yourself for the best portion of an hour.

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