25 Things You Were Taught In School That Are Not True.

Culture |

There's a common belief that says you can't fold a piece of paper in half more than 7 times. But that's just not the case.

We may not know the world as well as we thought we did! While you may have gotten straight A’s in school, somewhere along the way, you learned a few things as a kid that are no longer true. But it’s not like your teachers, family members, and parents were lying to you. Did one of your uncles tell you that a toilet flushes the opposite way in the Southern hemisphere? Well, you might want to give them a call or send them a link to this article because as it turns out, there’s not enough water in the toilet to get affected by the Coriolis Effect, but we’ll circle back to it later on, so keep reading! Blindly believing other people isn’t a good idea. But when you’re a kid, you don’t have much of a say in what you were taught in school. So here are 25 facts that aren’t as conclusive as we thought they were.This common myth claims that you can’t fold a piece of paper of any size in half over 8 times, as the task would require way too much energy. But as it turns out, a California student Britney Gallivan challenged this myth and proved it to be wrong. She folded a long sheet of tissue paper in half, 12 times. She was able to do so in the same direction, too.

Guinness World Records / YouTube

Whoever told you that George Washington had wooden teeth was just straight up wrong. The truth is actually far more eerie than you could ever imagine!

The former President did have his fair share of oral hygiene issues and dental problems. History books claimed that he only had a single natural tooth by 1789. But Washington’s dentures weren’t made out of wood. They contained lead, gold, ivory, and some suspect his contraptions were made out of cows, horses, and even people’s teeth. There are records that show he even purchased 9 teeth from the African American slaves working in his plantation. How's that for a history lesson?

Gilbert Stuart / Public Domain

Right-brained and left-brained? Yeah, that's just something people invented to categorize different personalities.

There are actually no studies that prove conclusively that there are more active areas in the brains of people who are creative and artistic versus those who prefer maths and science. Every part of the brain is has a different purpose, and this is easy to observe in patients who have suffered a stroke or gone through a traumatic brain injury.


Liquid, solid, and gas aren’t the only states of matter you can find on Earth.

But if you step out far, far away in further regions of our atmosphere you will find a fourth state. It's commonly known as plasma. This element is pretty common in the universe, and they consist of highly charged particles that carry kinetic energy. But that’s not all. In 1995, scientists generated the Bose-Einstein condensate in a lab. No one knows where it could be found in nature, but they do know it can be created in a lab.

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Despite what you may have been taught in school, there is no "taste map" in your tongue.

According to the University of Florida, professor Steven D. Munger, that’s just mumbo jumbo. It all started when a German scientist's findings got published in a paper in 1901. His study included a graph that misrepresented his research. The graph kind of made it seem like the human tongue had its own “taste map” and people took it literally, so for years, everyone believed this to be true. But the receptors that can detect salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami are distributed all around your tongue.


If you tell a kindergarten today that all dinosaurs are extinct, they wouldn't stop laughing.

Yup, it may sound crazy, but not all dinosaurs were extinct 65 million years ago like we were taught in school. There are still seagulls, blue jays, hummingbirds, and pigeons are still flying around all over the city. Steve Brusatte, who’s the author of the book “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” explained, “Today’s birds evolved from dinosaurs, which makes them every bit as much of a dinosaur as T. rex or Triceratops.”

Jiyang Chen / CC BY-SA 3.0

And while we’re on it, did you know that dinosaurs didn’t actually look like gigantic lizards either?

Paleontologists have discovered a few well-preserved fossils that prove dinosaurs were covered in fluffy colorful feathers. Does this mean Steven Spielberg will have to redo the 90s blockbuster all-time-classic film, Jurassic Park? Only time will tell! But researchers explained that they were able to identify colors when they studied these small structures known as melanosomes found in fossilized feathers. “It’s one of the most amazing things that’s happened in my lifetime as a scientist,” explained Steve Brusatte.

Irish Times

We were taught in school that the Brontosaurus wasn’t really a dinosaur. For years, the giant herbivore was mislabeled as an Apatosaurus. But that all changed in 2015!

For over 100 years, the Brontosaurus wasn’t really considered a dinosaur. In 1879, Paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh classified it as Apatosaurus because it shared some similarities with another specimen he had found 2 years prior. But in 2015, a study discovered that the two fossils were inherently different. So much so, that they belonged to two different categories, so now we know that the Brontosaurus is actually a dinosaur after all.

William Diller Matthew

The solar system could have 8 or 13 planets after scientists demoted a couple of planets and reclassified them. Then, they bumped them up again into a new category.

You probably remember how in the 90s, scientists demoted Pluto from being a planet to being known as a Kuiper Belt Object. Sometime before poor Pluto got stripped of its title, Ceres, another body formerly known as a planet, was reclassified as part of an asteroid belt. But then, in 2006, scientists bumped back Ceres and Pluto and assigned them the category of “dwarf planets”. Yup, we got a little bit dizzy too!

Wikimedia Commons

All in all, about 200 people were accused of being witches, but contrary to popular belief, women weren’t burned at the stake.

Apparently, no one got burned when the Massachusetts Bay Colony witch scare rolled around in 1692. Anyone believed to be a witch were occasionally burned in Europe. In England, most people got hanged. Out of 200 people who were thought of being a witch, 19 were convicted and hanged. Only one person was believed to be crushed under stones until they passed away. But here’s the catch. Women weren’t the only one being accused of delving into the supernatural. During the Salem Witch trials, 5 men were actually executed.

Public Domain

Whoever told you that Napoleon Bonaparte was a shortie probably didn't read too many history books.

At 5 foot 7, Napoleon may be considered somewhat short today. But back in the day, he was of average height. For years, the infamous conqueror was depicted as being this petty, pint-sized brat in British cartoons. When he passed away, Napoleon got measured by a few folks who were present. They claimed he was only 5 foot 2, but in the end, this was just a mistake because of the difference between the French and British measurement systems.

Public Domain

We may sound like we know a lot about the universe, and we do. But we don’t know every single planet in our solar system.

NASA claims that there are 3 more dwarf planets orbiting the sun and that there are potentially hundreds of other planets and bodies that haven’t been identified. Planet X, for example, still baffles scientists. They believe it could be as big as Neptune. For now, phys.org recognizes 8 regular planets and 5 dwarf planets.


Cartoons had it all wrong, apparently. As it turns out, toilet water doesn’t flush the other way in the Southern hemisphere after all.

For years, people believed that the Coriolis Effect would make toilet bowls flush in the opposite way, but that’s actually false. Simply put, the Coriolis Effect is the reason why cyclones rotate and why they do so in opposite directions in the southern and northern hemispheres. But there isn’t enough water inside a toilet bowl for this force to have any effect on it. Bummer!

Trailer Park Refugee

Neanderthals weren’t these primitive creatures who could barely tell left from right. In fact, they may have been as smart as we are.

Not that we’re the brightest tools in this shed! Did you know that scientists believe that some members of the animal kingdom may have superior brains than humans? But our ancestors could also give us a run for our money. Researchers have found evidence that Neanderthals were able to make jewelry, paintings, and crafted tools that made life easier. So why did they get extinguished? Well, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Nature Communications, the poor guys were simply outnumbered by flocks of Homo sapiens that were coming in from Africa. Sadly, 2 species wouldn’t be able to coexist in the same space, unless one of them changes or dies out.

Charles R. Knight / Public Domain

Contrary to popular belief, blood doesn’t turn blue when it’s lacking oxygen.

Your veins might look blue on the outside but this is just a visual effect because of the way the tissue distorts the light. But the blood inside is just as red as a tomato. Blood is always red, whether it’s full of oxygen, or not. And it’s still red when it’s making its way back to our hearts through our veins, even when its oxygen-deprived.


On that same note, Columbus wasn't the one who discovered that the Earth was round. But you probably already suspected that!

According to The Washington Post, people with a strong educational background already suspected that the Earth wasn’t flat. Apparently, this was common knowledge for centuries among intellectuals. As a matter of fact, a bunch of clever ancient Greeks believed that the planet was round, and they stated their beliefs during the time of Pythagoras in the sixth century B.C.E. During the middle ages, a few Europeans still believed that the earth was flat, (heck, a few celebrities still do, but don’t get us started on that one!) But this myth may have started when Washington Irving published a fictional biography about Christopher Columbus where he erroneously states his voyages proved that the Earth wasn’t flat.

New York Post

Touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing aren’t the only senses you’ve got. Yup, apparently there are more than five.

Humans have the ability to take in information in many other ways. We know where our bodies are located in space thanks to Proprioception, which allows us to find balance. Kinesthetic receptors allow us to keep track of our body parts, allowing us to detect stretching in our tendons and muscles. There are also some receptors that allow us to know how much oxygen we’ve got running through our arteries. The human body is simply fascinating, huh?

Utah Genetics - University of Utah

No, it won't take you 7 years to digest gum. But that's not to say you should start snacking on gum, though.

Who knows where this myth came from, but here’s the 411 on eating gum: while it’s not healthy for you, it’ll take about a week for the average person to digest it. Gastroenterologist, David Milov tells Scientific American that he has run into a few pieces of gum when he’s performing endoscopies or colonoscopies. He said, “Usually it’s not something that’s any more than a week old.”


We've all heard that fingernails and hair continue to grow after death, but that's just seriously bonkers according to the BBC.

Once the blood stops circulating after death, that’s the end of it. A few hours after a person dies, the corpse’s skin dries out, which means the skin retracts at the fingertips. This creates a visual effect that makes it seem like their nails are longer. Since men’s facial skin also gets dehydrated, their 5 o’clock beard appears to look like it had grown longer. But if there is no blood circulating, there won’t be any cells to produce hair and fingernail tissue.

Ask the Scientists

No, we don't just use 10% of our brains. Brain scans show clear activity all throughout the brain.

Sure, sometimes it feels like we're running on a half tank of gas, especially when you're trying to juggle parenthood, work, and life. Maybe we're a little bit slower than our peers, or perhaps, we've gotten a tad lazy as we've grown older. But no, 90% of our brain tissue isn't there for no reason. We even use our brains when we're resting, isn't that cool?


The rule, “I before E, except after C” doesn't really apply in every case.

This grammar rule, (which sounds pretty dumb if you think about it) doesn’t always apply. Sure, it seems to work well in words like "believe," "receive," "perceive," and "friend." But there are countless other cases where this rule would simply not work. As a matter of fact, this grammar rule would be wrong 75% of the time.

Writing Cooperative

You can see a lot of man-made structures from space, not just the Great Wall of China.

This architectural wonder is impressive on all counts. But the notion that you can see the Great Wall of China from outer space is insane for many reasons. In 2003, a Chinese astronaut claimed he wasn’t able to spot it. Many other space explorers say you can only see it if the weather conditions are on your side. Plus, there are other historical man-made structures you can see from above, such as the pyramids, a few roadways, and bridges too.


Christopher Columbus didn’t “discover” America. In fact, Native American tribes had already been living there for 15,000 years.

But here’s the catch. Columbus wasn’t even the first European to step foot on these mysterious lands. 500 years before Columbus accidentally stumbled into America, Viking explorer Leif Erikson had already explored these lands.

Public Domain

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, (also known as ROYGBIV) is not the color lineup of the rainbow.

In fact, everyone is now skipping indigo altogether. Even the LGBT pride flag is only represented by 6 colors. So why was this shade of blue included in the first place? Well, Sir Isaac Newton believed that the number 7 had a somewhat cosmic meaning, so he believed that 7 colors would have to be put together to make white, so he included indigo, which was a very popular color dye at the time.


Thomas Edison did not ACTUALLY invent the light bulb. Humphry Davy is the man who came up with the first electric light in 1802.

And in 1860, inventor Joseph Wilson Swan concocted the first working prototype of a light bulb. He used carbonized paper filaments, but his invention wasn't without a few problems. That's where Edison entered the picture. He eliminated a few technical issues and came up with a more practical, cheaper, and safer prototype according to Live Science.

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