Old wives’ tales are a fun way for parents to teach their kids important lessons. However, some wives’ tales are so realistic that many people start believing they are scientifically true. Well, we’re coming to the rescue! Below are 10 of the most popular wives’ tales debunked by science.
Number Ten: Cracking Your Knuckles Will Lead to Arthritis. Despite what your grandparents may have told you, no, cracking your knuckles will not lead to arthritis. One study followed people who repeatedly cracked their knuckles for weeks without any repercussions.
Number Nine: Swallowed Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Years. It’s almost unbelievable that people still believe this old wives’ tale. In an effort to stop children from swallowing gum, many worried mothers tell their kids that the gum they swallow will stay in their gut for years. In reality, swallowed gum won’t stay in your stomach for longer than a week.
Number Eight: A Penny Dropped From a Skyscraper Can Kill You. It’s true that things dropped from skyscrapers can reach breakneck speeds that could kill passersby if struck. However, a penny will experience so much air resistance when dropped that it would simply feel like a soft flick on your forehead.
Number Seven: Deoxygenated Blood Is Blue. Oxygenated and deoxygenated blood have different colorations, but deoxygenated blood is not blue like many people think. The blood is actually a deep crimson color, and the idea that it’s blue probably originated from the appearance of blue veins, which are so colored because of your skin, not your blood.
Number Six: Sugar Makes You Hyper. One of the most insidious old wives’ tales is that sugar will make kids hyper. In reality, sugar will actually make children sleepy. The hyperactivity parents observe after children eat candy is likely a result of the happiness kids experience from getting candy.
Number Five: Severe Pruning Is a Bad Thing. Has your mom ever told you not to stay in the tub too long or you’ll turn into a prune? Well, that might not be as bad as she made it seem. The skin on your body wrinkles like a prune when it’s submerged for long periods of time to optimize your gripping ability.
Number Four: All Chameleons Can Camouflage Themselves. Though camouflage is often the first thing people think of when they think of chameleons, not all chameleons are able to camouflage themselves. Chameleons actually use the camouflaging to warn other chameleons of predators or for territorial protection.
Number Three: Bulls Hate the Color Red. This one is easy to debunk: bulls are colorblind! The color of the flag that matadors wave in front of bulls doesn’t matter, but it’s the speed of the flag that really gets the bulls going.
Number Two: Police Are Not Allowed to Issue Missing Persons Reports for 24 Hours. Despite popular belief, police are actually legally allowed to file missing person reports whenever they want once the missing person is reported. The 24-hour rule exists as a way to prevent needless work is the child is found within a couple hours or the “missing person” was actually just a miscommunication.
Number One: Bats Are Blind. Finally, one of the most perpetuated myths is that bats are actually blind. In fact, bats are fully capable of seeing, and since they are nocturnal, they use their eyes to tell when the day has turned into night.