13. Can openers weren’t invented until 48 years after the invention of cans.
Up till the 1800s, Canned foods didn’t exist. In 1795, Napoleon Bonaparte was having problems with food preservation due to which his troops were not getting adequate food. Consequently, he offered a prize for anyone who could bring forward a method of preserving food during long journeys. Nicholas Appert won this prize in 1810 by sterilizing food in a glass jar container. Later in the same year, Peter Durand made the world’s first iron and tin can.
Combining the sterilization process and the iron and tin can, the food was kept fresh for a long time. However, there was no can opener available. Hence, troops used to smash the tin can with a hammer and chisel. Almost half a century later, in 1858, Ezra Warner invented and patented the world’s first can opener.(source)
14. Sharks were on earth before trees.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it? But it’s true. Sharks are older than trees. The earliest known species of tree is Archaeopteris. It was a tree like a plant and its leaves were like a fern. It is extinct now. Fossil index has revealed that it used to exist on Earth about 350 million years ago in a forest in the area where Sahara desert is located at present. Amazingly, the fossil index of sharks has revealed that it was present on even 400 million years ago proving the fact that sharks are older than trees.(source)
15. Tomatoes didn’t exist in Italy until 1548.
Tomatoes are such an integral part of every Italian recipe that in a way Italy and tomatoes are synonymous. But, until 1548, there had been no tomato in Italy. Not only in Italy, but they were unknown for the whole Europe. It came to Italy through explorers who brought tomatoes with them from the New World. The color of tomatoes which they brought was not bright red like the one we have today. They were yellow and their size was similar to cherry tomatoes.
If you are wondering what the tomato loving Italians had used to eat before 1548, well they consumed olives, pasta, polenta, anchovies, beans, pork, and basically everything they consume now. The only difference is that none of them were served with a rich tomato sauce as the base.(1,2)
16. Polar bear fur is actually transparent and their skin is black.
Ask anyone what is the color of Polar bears and you will receive the answer “white”. But, the truth is Polar bears are not white. They have transparent fur and underneath the fur, their skin is black in color. Their white color is actually an optical illusion going on within their fur/hair.
A Polar bear’s coat is actually made of two layers of hair. One is guard hair which is 5-15 cm in length and the other is a thick undercoat of shorter hair. The guard hair is transparent. When sunlight falls on the guard hair, some light energy gets trapped in it and bounces within the hollow hair. This causes emission of white light and the process is known as luminescence. The luminescence helps Polar bear in blending with the white snow.(source)
17. There are more trees on Earth than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
Most people would dismiss this fact as false because most people consider that total number of stars is not countable and incomparable. According to Maggie Masetti, who is an education and outreach specialist in NASA, there are 100 billion to 400 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. In the September 2015 issue of scientific journal Nature, a paper titled “Mapping tree density at the global scale” was published. It provided an estimate of a total number of trees on the Earth. According to this paper, there are approximately 3.04 trillion trees on Earth. Even though both these studies provided approximate numbers, it shows that the number of trees on Earth is more than the stars present in Milky Way Galaxy. Therefore, until the time someone comes up with a way to calculate the exact number of stars and trees, it seems that trees will be more in number.(source)
18. The train was invented before the bicycle.
When you look at the history of the bicycle, the first two-wheeler used by humans was the Draisine which was invented and patented in February 1818 by Karl Drais of Germany. On the other hand, rail transport might date back to the ancient Greeks. The first mechanized railroad system, i.e the steam engine, was started in England in the 1820s. Before the steam engines, wagonways were used in mining. Thus, surprisingly men knew how to drive a rail engine before being able to balance himself on two-wheeler.(1,2)