Myth 1: Blood is blue in your body

Myth 1: Blood is blue in your body

A widely shared myth is that blood is blue until it is exposed to air or replenishes its oxygen.

Because veins are a greenish blue, that theory sounds reasonable enough.

But the fact is, human blood looks the same in your body as outside: red.

That hue is brighter when it’s oxygen-rich and darker when it needs that oxygen replenished, but it’s red all the same.

The tissue covering your veins affects how the light is absorbed and scattered, which is why the blood circulating your body looks blue.


Myth 2: Humans only use 10 percent of their brains

Myth 2: Humans only use 10 percent of their brains

The idea of unlocking hidden brain power might make a compelling storyline for a movie, but it simply wouldn’t happen in real life.

One fact playing into the myth is that 90 percent of brain cells are “white matter” that help neurons survive, and only ten percent is the “grey matter” of neurons in charge of thinking.

But that white matter could never be used for brain power, so claiming 90 percent of our brain is wasted is like saying you waste peanuts when you throw out the shells.

Any MRI scan will show you that even saying a few words lights up way more than ten percent of your brain.

Scientists haven’t uncovered any area of the brain (much less 90 percent) that doesn’t affect thought, movement, or emotion in some capacity.

Myth 3: Neanderthals were a less evolved human ancestor

Myth 3: Neanderthals were a less evolved human ancestor

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: Neanderthals aren’t ancestors to modern humans.

The two species lived at the same time, mostly in different areas of the globe.

When the species did cross paths, there’s even evidence that they interbred.

But evidence doesn’t suggest they were cognitively inferior to humans.

Fossils show Neanderthals made tools, used fire, cleaned their teeth, ate medicinal plants, buried their dead, and maybe even cared for their sick and wounded.

Scientists no longer think Homo sapiens wiped out their Neanderthal cousins.

Neanderthals likely were already dying out as the climate changed, while modern humans’ trade networks, diverse diets, and innovative tools helped them survive.

Myth 4: It takes seven years to digest chewing gum

Myth 4: It takes seven years to digest chewing gum

Don’t freak out if you can’t find a trashcan and need to swallow your gum.

The truth is that your body can’t digest gum, not even in seven years.

That doesn’t mean it sticks inside your system, though. It will pass through your digestive system without being broken down, then come out in the bathroom like anything else.

If kids swallow too much, the gum could block their intestines, but that’s extremely rare.

Myth 5: Sugar makes kids hyper

Myth 5: Sugar makes kids hyper

Don’t blame the cake if your kid is acting out at a party.

The “sugar high” theory started in 1978, when one study found that kids with hyperkinesis, a hyperactivity disorder, had low blood sugar, which, weirdly enough, can be a sign of eating too much sugar.

That study was later discredited when researchers realised the “abnormally low” blood sugar was actually considered normal.

Since then, double-blind studies have shown sugar doesn’t make kids any more hyper than a placebo.

If anything, it’s probably your own expectations.

One 1994 study found that after five- to seven-year-old boys took a placebo, the moms who were told their sons had eaten a large dose of sugar were more likely to say their kid was acting hyper.

Your kid might also just be excited to let loose with their friends at a party.

Myth 6: Genes determine race

Myth 6: Genes determine race

You might think people who look superficially different would have big differences in their genes, but that’s not the case.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, humans share 99.9 percent of their genes with each other.

Even that 0.1 percent doesn’t have any racial markers.

In fact, a groundbreaking 2002 study revealed there is more genetic diversity between people of African descent than between Africans and Eurasians.

You can use your genes to trace your ancestors’ geography, but that doesn’t directly tie in to race.

Case in point: Sickle cell anemia isn’t a general “African” disease, as it’s normally described; it’s more common in West Africans, but also in Mediterranean, Arabian, and Indian populations.


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