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10 false scientific facts that everyone knows

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Me, jump off a cliff? Where did you get that crazy half idea? That’s one of those cool science facts that just isn’t true. BMJ/Shutterstock

We all love fun science facts. But, in these days of “fake news”, when amazing scientific facts are treated as fiction and myth is repeated as scientific fact, how sure are we that the “facts” we know to be true really are true?

When confusing facts are spouted out, there’s no better response to a skeptical audience than to calmly explain that it’s not just true, it’s one of those cool science facts you learned about in science class.

Great scientific facts and scientific discoveries, after all, can forgive a lot of sin when it comes to interesting facts. Sometimes it even works. Their button buds they really only last a week or two before being pushed aside by new ones and you savor the food with new sprouts [source: Chudler]. Rice has more genes than a human being. [source: Graham]. Lemmings are pathologically suicide. It’s science, folks.

But keep your rodents. Because some of the fun scientific facts that we have heard, internalized and spread are false myths. To begin with, our little lemmings friends got a rap for clinical depression based on a disney “documentary” that completely fabricated the lemmings’ mass suicide over the cliff fall idea [source: Woodford].

In fact, lemmings, like polar bears and all kinds of other wildlife, experience population explosions, followed by migration and dispersal. Disney-supplied footage of lemmings leaping to their deaths? Fully staged.

Of course, not all of our bogus scientific facts were created on a movie set. Read on for some extremely common misconceptions that those who study biology, medicine, physics, and meteorology just can’t seem to shake.

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