There are some things in life which you just know to be true because, well just because. But sometimes the truth isn’t quite what it seemed...
1. Bulls don’t see red
Yes, bulls do get miffed when matadors taunt them by flapping their red capes – but it’s the flapping that gets them in a flap, not the colour red.
An experiment where three matadors held aloft, red, white and blue capes found that they all brought a half-hearted response. It was only when they started waving the flags that it became clear the bulls would charge at the one moving the most – whatever colour it was.
To read more, go to bull experiment.
2. Frankenstein wasn’t a monster
In Mary Shelley’s book, the creator of the monster was called Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s monster is never actually given a name.
3. Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t short
Back when Boney was running amok, it was nothing to do with short-man syndrome. In fact, at 5ft 7in, he was above-average height for a Frenchman in the 1800s.
4. You can’t see the Great Wall of China from space
Whatever that school encyclopaedia said, China’s wall may well be great, but visible from space, it ain’t!
As returning Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said on Twitter after being on the International Space Station for five months, ‘The Great Wall of China is not visible from orbit with the naked eye. It’s too narrow, and it follows the natural contours and colours of the landscape.’
5. Bats are not blind
‘Blind as a bat’ may be what you hear people shouting at dodgy refereeing decisions, but that’s not really fair on bats. They can see, but as they are nocturnal creatures, they also need to use echolocation – where their mouths create sounds that bounce off objects – to help them get around.
6. Goldfishes don’t have 3-second memories
OK, they may not be elephants in the memory department, but the common belief that a goldfish forgets after just a few seconds, isn’t true. They can in fact remember back up to 5 months, according to Israeli research.
7. You aren’t always within a few feet of a rat in London
Despite common belief, Londoners are not actually tripping over long-tailed rodents every time they pop to get a latte! Scientists reckon there are around 3 million rats in the capital, which equates to a rat about every 150ft. Still a little close for comfort, mind!
8. Cracking your knuckles doesn’t cause arthritis
It might make people nearby wince, but the good news is that knuckle-cracking won’t damage your health, although it may lower grip strength! The sound isn’t actually bones being crunched, but air pockets popping.
9. Coffee isn’t made from beans
They are actually the seeds of the coffee plant – not that you’d know it from TV ads and product packaging, where it’s beans this, beans that and beans the other!
10. Nail and hair does not continue to grow after death
Spooky thought as it is, thankfully it seems it’s not true. It may appear to be the case because as skin recedes after death, it makes hair and nails look longer.
Can you think of any more? Let us know!