Despite the many problems that the world is facing, another year has come and gone. But packed into those 365 days, we’ve grown a lot and have learned a lot of things. If you want to be stunning some people with some trivia or need to renew your faith in humanity, consider these facts we learned in 2019.


There Is Another Continent Located In The Mediterranean

Remember the lost continent of Greater Adria? This is a place that many people vacation year after year and we didn’t discover it until some research by Utrecht University uncovered it. It’s about the size of Greenland.



There Was A Penguin The Size Of A Human In New Zealand

While we think of penguins as the cute adorable waddling birds, one study conducted in April found there were some huge ones. During the research, scientists found the bones of a penguin in New Zealand that proved that a human-sized penguin existed. The scientists call them Crossvallia waiparensis, a species that lived about 60 million years ago.



Those Who Function On Less Sleep May Have A Gene Mutation

While studies firmly state we need between seven and nine hours of sleep, there are some people who can actually function outside of those parameters. One study uncovered that those who could pull that off actually have a mutation of the β1-adrenergic receptor. This receptor is used to ensure that the person can still function even when they sleep for less hours.



Want A Healthier Gut? Drink Beer

While not a reason to become an alcoholic, but don’t be afraid to drink a reasonable amount of beer. A professor from Amsterdam University stated that depending on the beer consumed, the beer could actually have some beneficial microbes found in foods like yoghurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.



Popping A Bottle Of Champagne Is About As Shocking As The Shock Waves From Jets

Even though uncorking a champagne bottle has a safe strategy, the fact still remains that uncorking a champagne bottle can be quite shocking. According to a study, the supersonic waves released from uncorking it can produce Mach 1 level force. The same amount a jet can produce.



Plants Have Protective Measures

While in rainfall we are typically inside, flowers don’t always get that luxury. Instead, they behave much like any of us would if we get caught in the rain – panic and cover up as best they can.

Findings that the National Academy of Sciences submitted in July found that plants take protective measures when stimuli from external factors are created. Whether it’s from weather, humans or animals, plants will have short-term molecular changes, which will impact their development in the long term.

As for what it does it’s hard to say. But the research found during those external stimuli that a plant will have it’s thousands of genes springing to action to defend itself. These signals pass through the leaves and the protective effects range from plant to plant.



A Species Is Named After Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

She’s now Time’s “Person Of The Year” but before she was nominated that, scientists revealed a new species of beetle. This particular species has an antenna that looks like braided hair. Because of this fact, they named the beetle Nelloptodes Gretae in honour of Greta Thunberg who always wears hair in braids.



Both “Lovers of Modena” Were Actually Dudes

In 2009, archaeologists started to excavate an Italian city called Modena. During the search, they found a pair of skeletons buried side by side holding hands. They stated then that was from 700 years ago and since the uncover, the public believed it was a man and a woman.

Well this year, after some more research and analyzing of the bones, the analysis found both of these skeletons were both male.

This is incredible, since at present there are no burials of this type ever. Burials in this fashion were always a man and a woman. As for the link these two men shared at this point is still a mystery though.



Cheese Soaks Up Salt In The Body

For those who are worried about their salt intake, consider adding more cheese to your meal. Sure it can clog arteries when consumed too much, but having a balance of cheese in your diet can help with managing salt levels. A study found that the sodium in cheese could be a way to reduce cardiovascular disease.



Found Another Organ That Can Detect Pain

While we may still be moving while we’re dead, scientists uncovered another way we detect pain. Website Science shared data that provides us details of a new human organ that can detect this pain. The organ in question is a mesh-like organ that covers the skin. It’s tasked with sensing dangerous environmental stimuli. While there is no official name for this organ yet, it’s made of specialized glial cells.

So not only do our skin nerve fibres detect pain, but so too does this pain-sensitive organ.



Komodo Dragons Got Armour Under Those Scales

We know Komodo dragons are fierce animals. Their scales are tough and they can endure vicious battles with other creatures nicely. But we didn’t really know why. Well this year we got to know.

In September, a study found that after scanning this prehistoric lizard they found what they described as a suit of armour made of tiny bones. This covers their entire body and is located under their scales.



Dolphins Lean Right-Handed Too

Dolphins are interesting creatures. Not only are they one of the most intelligent species excluding humans, but they have other human-like abilities. This year we found dolphins to share more human qualities in that most are right-handed – just like humans are.



Don’t Shake Your Head To Get Water Out After Showers Or Swimming

This fact is especially for kids. While swimming is great exercise, some people may feel the urge to shake their heads to get the water out. This year this habit could actually be dangerous. According to research done by Virginia Tech and Cornell University, that act could cause brain damage.

But don’t worry too much. Presumably putting a few drops of alcohol or vinegar in one’s ear will reduce the surface tension force allowing water to flow out the ear naturally.



The Bridge Design Leonardo da Vinci Created Would’ve Worked

In 1502 Leonardo da Vinci put together plans to make a bridge. This bridge – or rather reconstruction of the bridge – would’ve served to connect Istanbul to the neighbouring city of Galata. At the time it was dismissed, but engineers at MIT proved in 2019 that his design – though clearly dated – would’ve worked.



Humans Are Zombies…

The human body is a truly fascinating thing. Paired with all of the other unusual facts, another one to add to the pile is that our corpses can move for more than a year after we’re dead. But don’t be too alarmed by it. What researchers found was that individuals’ legs and arms can move mostly due to the drying up and shrinkage of the body’s ligaments.



I Heard You Like Diamonds, So We Put Diamonds In Your Diamonds

No seriously, diamonds are stunning, but are also quite the interesting gems. Russian miners made an interesting discovery where a diamond was found with another one moving freely inside of it. The first discovery of its kind seeing as nature isn’t one to like empty space.

In so many cases with nature, any space left behind is used up. In the case of diamonds, more diamond would’ve formed in that case. But not in this one.



Cave Art Was Made Using Magnetized Stone

If you paid attention to art class you may remember something called cave art. Done roughly 2000 years ago, this art has stood the test of time. Though I can imagine the art professor didn’t go into detail about how the art was made.

Well back then we didn’t honestly know until this year.

Apparently that art was not only stunning, but people who made it also used some stunning material to create it – electrified rocks.

Whenever we look at structures today made in ancient times, we now know those structures were made using tools that were struck by lightning. So far this theory holds up based on that under 1 percent of these structures weren’t made using this method.



Dominant Giraffes Have Darker Spots

While we may see giraffe spots as a natural splash of colours, they’re actually used to signal social nature to other animals. According to a study in November, those with darker spots are more dominant than those with lighter spots.



Grapes When Microwaved Can Catch Fire

Is it a good idea to microwave this? While you wouldn’t think of throwing most fruits into a microwave, do avoid putting grapes in there. One study found that trying that would cause a fire. After all, there are water beads in the grapes, which when heated form plasma create miniature fireworks.

Cool stuff, but obviously dangerous.