6. Most of the Characters on kids’ cereal boxes are always looking down so that they can make eye contact with the children walking down the aisles at the grocery stores.
If you look at the design on kids’ cereal boxes, you will see that the mascot is always staring down. Mascots on adult cereal boxes, on the other hand, are mostly found staring straight ahead. It is not arbitrary or coincidental. There is a clever reason behind it! A recent study conducted by the Food and Brand Lab of Cornell University revealed that cereal manufacturers designed the packaging intentionally to appeal to the varying demographics.
The team at Cornell studied 65 different brands of cereals found at 10 grocery stores. They also examined 86 cereal mascots. They found that kids’ cereal boxes are placed on the lower shelves, which makes sense. They also measured the mascot’s gaze and found that 66% of them were staring down. Experts say that eye contact helps to build a connection and trust. The study concluded that cereal boxes that used this strategy saw a significant increase in trust and connection. (1, 2)
7. In 2012, a tourist in Iceland unwittingly joined a search party that was looking for a missing woman. It turned out that she was looking for herself!
Back in 2012, when touring around Iceland, an Asian woman was reported missing. A search party was soon created to look for the woman, and a tourist joined in to help. After a while, it became clear to the tourist that the search party was actually looking for her!
As far as the story goes, the bus party was touring around the Eldgjá volcanic region of Iceland. When the bus stopped, the Asian tourist in question stepped out along with the rest of the party to freshen up. However, she had changed her clothes before rejoining her party which caused her fellow travelers to fail to recognize her.
When she was declared missing, a search party involving 50 people set out on a night-long operation to find her. She was part of the group but did not recognize the group’s description of herself. After hours of searching, the woman realized that everyone was actually looking for her! The search was then called off. (1, 2)
8. All brown eyes are actually blue underneath. They appear brown because of the presence of a pigment called melanin.
We all know that our skin gets its color from melanin, but did you know it is the same component that creates brown eyes? On the other hand, there are no blue pigments in blue eyes. Eyes appear blue because of the same reason the sky and water appear to be blue. It occurs when the sunlight gets scattered and reflects more blue light.
The colored section of the eye is known as the “iris.” This structure is composed of various cells and muscles. You can actually see the iris squeezing or relaxing when letting more or less light in through the pupil. The iris is also composed of two layers. The back layer consists of brown pigment, and that is true for everyone including people with blue eyes.
The front layer, on the other hand, is made up of overlapping cells and fibers. Those with brown eyes have brown pigments in some of these cells. In the absence of brown pigments in the front layer, the fibers tend to scatter. They also absorb the longer wavelengths of light. This way, more blue light reflects back and the eyes look blue.
Since eyes appear blue due to light, the color can also change when there is a change in lighting. Also, since the genetics behind eye color are complex, predicting eye color of an unborn child is not possible. (1, 2)
9. The giant swallowtail caterpillars disguise themselves as bird poop to avoid predators.
Caterpillars are delicious treats for hungry birds, which is why the giant swallowtail caterpillar has developed a shrewd strategy to avoid falling prey to these common predators. These caterpillars use their unique coloring and shape to camouflage themselves as bird poop! Known as “masquerading,” the tactic is actually a lifesaver for these caterpillars.
According to a report released by the Animal Behavior journal, these creatures have a white and brown color combination that makes them look like bird droppings. Moreover, when resting on branches or leaves, the caterpillars contour their body to appear as a dollop of poop. The disguise is perfect enough to fool not only birds but also humans! (1, 2)
10. Aphids, tiny sap-sucking insects, are born pregnant.
Sexual maturity refers to the age when animals become capable of reproducing. Different animals reach maturity at different ages, but the tiny sap-sucking insects known as aphids are born pregnant. Also known as “blackfly” or” greenfly,” aphids belong to the Aphidoidea superfamily. They come in various colors, and the group also includes the woolly aphids that are fluffy and white. These insects can reproduce asexually.
The flightless female aphids can give birth to other female nymphs without ever having to copulate with a male. The females can also breed at a rapid speed. In temperate climates, autumn brings about a time of sexual reproduction. That is when the insects spend the winter as eggs. (1, 2)