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95 Facts That Are As Wildly Random As They Are Extremely Interesting

BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed
 2022-09-04

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1. Ketchup was sold as medicine in the 1830s.

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Thirty years before Heinz started bottling and selling the stuff as a condiment, an Ohio physician named Dr. John Cook Bennett thought the tomato-based product was as good as Pepto-Bismol. He said it could cure diarrhea and indigestion, and even concentrated ketchup into pill form to sell to the stomach-achy masses.

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2. Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's son, was in close proximity to three out of four presidential assassinations.

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Lincoln, his parents' eldest son, was supposed to be at Ford's Theater with his mom and dad the night the president was assassinated, but he stayed back at the White House, less than a mile away, instead. Sixteen years later, he watched President James Garfield get fatally shot at Sixth Street Train Station in Washington, D.C. Even weirder? Lincoln was at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York when President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901.

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3. If you're being violent or drunk in Japan the police will get a futon and roll you into a burrito.

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In fact, Japanese police officers are rarely known to use guns or violence at all. If you're drunk (or acting violent), they'll wrap you up in the futons and carry you over to the station to calm you down instead of potentially instigating more hostilities.

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4. All mammals take about 12 seconds to poop, regardless of size.

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The science journal Soft Matter found that the diameter and length of feces are always comparable to those of any mammal's rectum and that no matter a mammal's size or weight, the pressure used to push out a bowel movement is equal. So whether it's an elephant or a mouse, it doesn't need too long to pop out poop.

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5. Miami is the only major US city founded by a woman.

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Say hi to Julia Tuttle , the mother of Miami. She bought hundreds of acres of land in southern Florida in 1886, and thanks to her negotiations with railway magnate Henry Flagler to extend his railroads south to her property, her city got put on the map in a big way.

The History Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

6. The story you've probably heard about lemmings jumping off of cliffs to their deaths FAKE.

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A 1958 nature documentary called White Wilderness appeared to show lemmings committing suicide off of a cliff in the Arctic . The doc was popular and even won an Oscar, but the truth is that they faked the entire cliff-jumping scene. Producers shipped lemmings to Alberta to film it, and even used a turntable during some points to force the animals to fly off the cliff. Scientists have since proven that the entire myth of lemming suicide is a hoax.

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7. Anxious travelers can play with mini horses at a Kentucky airport.

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Twice a month, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport brings in two adorable mini horses named Denver and Ruby from a nearby farm to help nervous jet-setters feel relaxed. Aren't you more chilled-out just reading about them?

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8. Coca-Cola cannot be bought or sold in North Korea.

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Cuba was once a part of the list of countries that can't sell the soda, but thanks to Mexico, you can buy Coke in select cities in Cuba. Despite selling it, Cuba still can't manufacture the product.

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9. A game of golf was once played on the moon.

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Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

10. Lady Gaga once spent $50K on a ghost detector .

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Matt Winkelmeyer / WireImage

11. Woodpeckers wrap their tongues around their brain to protect them during their high-speed pecks.

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Veena Nair / Getty Images

12. Vending machines kill more people per year than sharks.

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Simona Pilolla / Getty Images/EyeEm

13. Early in his career, Sylvester Stallone was so low on cash, he was forced to sell his dog, Butkus, for $40. When he landed Rocky , he bought the dog back for $15K and gave him a role in the movie.

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14. Human bodies contain small traces of gold .

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15. Male giraffes headbutt females in their bladder until they urinate. The male then tastes her pee to see if she's ovulating.

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Martin Harvey / Getty Images

16. Former One Directioner Liam Payne has a severe phobia of dirty spoons .

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David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images for Frieze

17. Sonic the Hedgehog's middle name is Maurice.

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It's also been rumored that his first name is Ogilvie, but it hasn't been proven.

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18. In Singapore, anyone caught chewing, importing, or selling gum could face a fine or jail time.

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Stephen Lovekin / WireImage / Getty Images

19. Winnie the Pooh was banned from a Polish playground because he doesn't wear pants.

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Peter Bischoff / Getty Images

20. Until 2015 in the UK, the coloring in red skittles contained carmine , which derives from the crushed abdomen of female beetles.

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21. Jon Hamm was Ellie Kemper's high school drama teacher .

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Michael Caulfield / WireImage / Getty Images

22. Crows can hold grudges due to their ability to remember human faces, especially those who treated them badly.

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This fact also pertains to ravens, jays, and magpies.

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23. There's a company that allows you to memorialize the body of a loved one in the form of a reef.

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Malakpet Ps / Getty Images/500px

24. The phrase "sweating like a pig" is technically impossible, because pigs can't physically sweat .

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Manop Boonpeng / Getty Images/EyeEm

25. A blue whale's tongue weighs more than most elephants.

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26. All of Tom Cruise's ex-wives were 33 when they divorced the actor.

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There are even some conspiracy theories swirling around about it.

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27. Arsenic wafers were once eaten to improve skin and "facial disfigurements" like freckles and blackheads — well, until people realized it was slowly killing them.

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28. German chocolate cake was actually invented in Texas by a person named Mrs. George Clay .

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According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , the use of the word German was coined because an American man named Sam German created a chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company, which was used in the initial recipe.

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29. Nicolas Cage is known as an outlandish spender in Hollywood. Some of his past purchases include a $150,000 pet octopus, haunted houses, and shrunken pygmy heads.

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30. Raw pistachios have been known to spontaneously combust when stored in large quantities.

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31. Although illegal and dangerous, it's possible to walk from Russia to Alaska via the Bering Strait when it freezes in the winter.

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32. Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

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33. Owls don't have eyeballs . Instead they have elongated tubes held by sclerotic rings. Owls can't move their eyes around, which is why they have to move their entire head to look in different areas.

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34. In Japan, editors added a fifth finger to Bob the Builder's hands, so viewers wouldn't think he was associated with a feared Japanese mafia called Yakuza.

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According to BBC , members of Yakuza "cut off their little fingers as a sign they can be trusted and have strength of character."

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35. Jennifer Lawrence learned how to skin a squirrel for her role in Winter's Bone .

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36. The first college football game was played on Nov. 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton (formally known as the College of New Jersey). Rutgers won.

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37. Flamingos can only eat when their heads are upside down , due mainly to the structure of their beaks.

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38. Before deciding on the name Google, the popular search engine was called BackRub .

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"They called it this because the program analyzed the web’s 'back links' to understand how important a website was, and what other sites it related to," according to Business Insider .

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39. Pound cake got its name because the original recipe for the dessert required one pound of each ingredient.

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40. Before her rise to fame, Madonna worked at Dunkin' Donuts . She was later fired for squirting jelly on a customer.

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41. Walt Disney actually hated the character Goofy , calling him a "stupid cartoon."

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42. Thailand holds an annual Monkey Buffet Festival where residents of Lopburi honor the 3,000 monkeys that live near the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple by providing 4.5 tons of fruit, vegetables, and treats for them to eat.

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43. Shredded cheese packages typically contains cellulose (also known as wood pulp or sawdust) to prevent them from clumping.

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Mike Kemp / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

44. Shakira's school teacher told her she was bad at singing and banned her from choir . Her classmates stated she sounded like a goat.

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45. Dr. Seuss created Green Eggs and Ham because his publisher bet him he couldn't write a book shorter than The Cat in the Hat .

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He obviously won that bet, because The Cat in the Hat had 236 different words, while Green Eggs and Ham used just 50 words, according to Biography.com .

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46. The Yoruba people of Nigeria are known for giving birth to more twins than anywhere else in the world — 50 per 1,000 births.

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According to Reuters , twins are also believed to be magical in Yoruba culture.

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47. Paul Newman taught Jake Gyllenhaal how to drive .

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48. Ears of corn typically have an even number of rows — most have an average of 16.

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49. Jack Nicholson grew up believing his mom, June, was his sister, and that his grandmother, Ethel May, was his mother.

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June was 18 years old when she gave birth to Jack. In order to avoid gossip of having a baby out of wedlock, Ethel May decided to raise Jack as her son, and pretended June was his much older sister.

Jack didn't learn the truth until after both June and Ethel May died, according to InStyle .

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50. Long before New York received its iconic nickname "The Big Apple," it was known as New Orange .

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When the Dutch captured New York from the English in 1673, they renamed the state New Orange to honor William III of Orange. But that didn't last long, because the following year, the English regained control and renamed it New York, according to History.com .

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51. The word " podcast " is a portmanteau — a combination of the words "iPod" and "broadcast." The term itself was actually created by accident in 2004.

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The term was first coined by journalist Ben Hammersley in an article he was writing for the UK's the Guardian about the new emerging technology of being able to download audio programs and radio. According to Hammersley , he turned in the article but was told it was a few words too short. In order to pad it out a bit more, he added the line: "But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?" And the rest is, well, history!

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52. The first text message sent to a cellphone happened almost 30 years ago (!) — in 1992 — and the message sent was "Merry Christmas."

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The text happened in the UK, where an engineer who worked for the telecommunications company, Vodafone, sent the message from his computer to the cellphone of an executive who worked at Vodafone. At the time, cellphones couldn't respond to texts, though.

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53. In 1953, Swanson was basically forced to invent TV dinners because they had around 260 tons of leftover frozen Thanksgiving turkeys and needed a way to get rid of them.

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A Swanson salesman was inspired to create them based on the pre-made food they served on trays on planes.

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54. In 2002, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first TV show to ever use "google" as a verb.

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Sony Television

55. In 2005, Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" became the first song to sell a million digital downloads.

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UMG

56. The word " meme " isn't new, and was first coined in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene — albeit, it did have a bit of a different meaning.

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According to Merriam-Webster , they define Dawkins' use of the word as "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture." They also didn't add the word into the dictionary until 1998.

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57. Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought was the first book ever sold on Amazon in 1995.

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According to the computer scientist who bought it, John Wainwright, the transaction is still in his order history.

Harvester Wheatsheaf / Via amazon.com

58. McDonald's created Chicken McNuggets because of changing dietary habits in the late '70s (aka people — because of health concerns — were eating less red meat and were eating more chicken).

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Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Image

59. It wasn't until the Great Depression that movie theaters began selling popcorn as a snack to eat during movies.

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Early on, movie theaters were trying to re-create a real "going to the theater" experience by building grand movie palaces with fancy carpets and curtains — of course, like a real theater, you couldn't eat snacks in them either. By the mid-'30s, theater owners realized selling inexpensive popcorn was a way to increase profits as attendance numbers went down.

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60. The first Disney Channel Original Movie was 1997's Northern Lights , starring Diane Keaton.

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Prior to 1997, Disney Channel TV movies were called Disney Channel Premiere Films , and those date back to 1983 when the channel launched.

Alliance Communication Corp. / Alliance Communication Corp. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

61. Cap’n Crunch has a full name — it's Horatio Magellan Crunch.

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Quaker Oats Company / Via walmart.com

62. The urban legend about the ghost of a boy appearing in Three Men and a Baby actually started after the film was released on home video .

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The story goes that in the background of one of the scenes, you can see the ghost of a 9-year-old boy who killed himself in the apartment where Three Men and a Baby was filmed. But the "ghost" is actually a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson's character (which can be seen earlier in the film). Also, the apartment was a set built on a soundstage.

There are a few theories as to how this rumor started — like how it was the studio trying to drive up VHS rentals . It could just be that the low resolution of VHS tapes, and the fact that TVs were smaller in the '80s and '90s, just made it hard to determine what the figure was.

Disney

63. An extinct species of monkey crossed the Atlantic on its own.

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64. Mars constantly makes a humming noise.

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65. When plants are under attack from insects, they let out aromas that warn other plants and entice the insects' predators.

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66. It's likely that more than 11 species of fish can walk on land.

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67. Over 1,000 years ago, Puebloans in modern-day New Mexico survived droughts by melting ancient ice in the depths of caves.

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68. There was a badger-like animal 66 million years ago, and scientists named it Adalatherium, which means "crazy beast."

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69. In the past couple decades, supermassive black holes in distant galaxies have launched jets of material.

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70. Some hummingbirds use colors we can't see to find food.

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71. There is a giant lakebed a mile under northwest Greenland.

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72. A 550-million-year-old fossilized digestive tract was found in Nevada, making it the oldest known digestive tract ever.

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73. On average, lightning strikes Earth 100 times each second.

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74. And lightning strikes over 100 million times a year in the tropics.

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75. A Cuvier’s beaked whale can stay underwater for at least 3 hours and 42 minutes.

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76. Babies' brains are wired to see faces and places.

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Tuan Tran / Getty Images

77. Through sensing electrostatic fields, bumblebees can tell if another bee has visited the flower they're at in the past couple of minutes.

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78. There are four buried lakes on Mars.

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79. Modern humans reached westernmost Europe 38,000 to 41,000 years ago — 5,000 years earlier than we thought.

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80. The oldest known species of pythons were in Germany.

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Alan Tunnicliffe Photography / Getty Images

81. A gas associated with living organisms is in Venus's atmosphere.

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82. Some bats make different kinds of sounds to talk about different subjects, like food or sleep.

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Bruno Guerreiro / Getty Images

83. There's a blue fruit that gets its color from its fat.

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Michel VIARD / Getty Images

84. Tectonic plates became a thing over four billion years ago — at least a billion years earlier than we thought.

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ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

85. The New Guinea Singing Dog isn't extinct.

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86. An animal in Antarctica hibernated over 250 million years ago, which is the oldest evidence of a hibernation-like state.

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87. There's a coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef that's taller than the Empire State Building.

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Dulyanut Swdp / Getty Images

88. Duckbilled dinosaurs were present in Africa, and they swam from Europe or Asia.

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Daniel Eskridge / Getty Images

89. Tropical songbirds reproduce less during droughts.

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Cavan Images / Getty Images

90. There were periods of extreme cold in Ancient Rome, and it was caused by a volcano eruption in Alaska.

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Patrick J. Endres / Getty Images

91. Earth's continents were submerged 3.8 billion years ago.

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James Cawley / Getty Images

92. After sea turtles lay eggs, they create decoy nests to fool predators.

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93. One of the Popes tried to ban sneezing .

94. Cappuccino drinks are named after Italian friars , specifically the hoods of their robes.

95. And lastly, there is water on the moon.

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Yaorusheng / Getty Images

Were there any facts here that completely surprised you? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

This post contains content from Andy Golder, Brian Galindo, Hope Lasater, Morgan Murrell, and Terri Pous. It was compiled by Salimah McCullough.

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