22 Historical Facts You Learned That Are No Longer True

History is filled with misconceptions and myths that continue to bow down to new discoveries and knowledge. From misunderstood scientific concepts to exaggerated cultural tales, most of the beliefs and knowledge obtained from school continue to fall. Here is some fascinating knowledge about what we believed was true.

Brontosaurus Is a Dinosaur

Initially, it was believed that the Brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. However, it later emerged that it was a. Paleontologists revealed that it was a combination of bones from varied animals. The actual creature has now been identified as Apatosaurus. This was due to the 19th-century rush to classify new discoveries.

George Washington Had Wooden Teeth

While his dentures were made of ivory, human, and animal teeth, it was commonly believed that George Washington had wooden teeth. This myth was likely born out of the discolored appearance of his teeth. The misconception was a result of the inadequate dental understanding and resources of the 18th century.

Pluto Is a Planet

Schools taught students that the ninth planet in the solar system was Pluto. However, 2006 saw it reclassified as a dwarf planet. The International Astronomical Union noted that its size and orbit overlap Neptune’s. This reclassification was informed by enhanced astronomical study technologies and redefinitions of what constitutes a planet.

Vincent van Gogh Cut Off His Own Ear

As opposed to what was known initially, Vincent van Gogh didn’t cut off his entire ear. The reality is that just a bit of it was severed. This was proven by detailed medical records and his own letters. The sensationalized story is likely to have come from his mental health issues.

Christopher Columbus Discovered America

History books taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America. However, it later emerged that Indigenous peoples had lived there for thousands of years. Further, Norse explorer Leif Erikson reached North America around 1000 AD, before him. The Columbus myth was a Eurocentric narrative that ignored earlier explorers and inhabitants.

Albert Einstein Was a Bad Student

The belief that Einstein was a weak learner was demystified by his school records, which revealed excellent grades. Different grading systems and his unruly attitude may have fueled this misconception. Einstein himself gave clarifications about the same. Specifically, his grades in math and physics were excellent, despite his unconventional approach.

Pilgrims and Native Americans Sat Down Together at The First Thanksgiving

The iconic image of Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a harmonious Thanksgiving feast has been declared a myth. Historians established that the event was actually about a tense, uneasy alliance. This 19th-century sensational story was created to establish a desirable origin story for this popular American holiday.

The Great Wall of China Is the Only Man-Made Structure That Can Be Seen from Space

This former historical fact is no longer accurate after it was dismissed by astronauts. They have determined that it cannot be seen clearly with naked eyes. It’s misinformation that may have arisen from its significant length and cultural importance. Additionally, other structures, like roads and cities, have also been visible from orbit.

Raindrops Are Shaped Like Teardrops

Science taught us that raindrops were shaped like teardrops. However, they’re actually more spherical when small and flatten as they fall. This new knowledge comes from scientists and meteorologists who utilized high-speed photographic technology to make the observations. The claim must have originated from cartoons or popular culture’s impressions.

Deoxygenated Blood Looks Blue

This claim came from the visual effects of veins observed under the skin and textbook representations. Deoxygenated blood is dark red, an explanation provided by medical science and confirmed by varied studies. The blue appearance of veins was ignited by the process of light scattering through the skin.

America Became Independent On July 4, 1776

American independence came with the end of the Revolutionary War, which was in 1783. This demystifies the myth that the actual date was July 4th, 1776. The belief was informed by the celebrations of the Declaration’s adoption on the said date, which made July 4th an Independence Day.

Diamonds Are the Hardest Substance Known to Man

In school, it was common knowledge that diamonds were the hardest existing substance. However, new scientific discoveries clarified that materials such as graphene and wurtzite boron nitride were harder. The advancements in research and testing technologies enabled this. Diamond’s prominence could have been the strength behind the myth.

Five Kingdoms of Classification Exist

This was information in mainstream science literature. It would later be dismissed by scientists, who now recognize six kingdoms, including Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea, and Bacteria. The revised information was facilitated by applied molecular studies that discovered substantial differences in classes. The five-kingdom system was introduced by Robert Whittaker.

You Only Use 10 Percent of Your Brain

Science teachers would mention to you that just 10% of your brain is utilized. This false fact has been dismissed through neurological studies that confirm almost every part of the brain is used. Scans on the brain have revealed constant activity in almost every region of the organ.

Chameleons Change Color to Blend into Their Surroundings

While it is true that the chameleon changes its color, the blending in reason has been discarded. Advanced scientific knowledge established that skin cells called chromatophores initiate the changes for a number of reasons, including communication. The blending-in myth might have come from a misunderstanding of the animal’s behavior.

Earth Is the Only Planet With Water

The earth being the only planet with water was information you learned in intermediate science. However, signs of water have been found on Mars and moons like Europa and Enceladus. The advanced knowledge has been obtained through advanced space studies. The earlier, less sophisticated observations were the basis of this misconception.

The United States Is a Democracy

This is a perceived fact that most people still believe is true to this day. The reality is that the United States isn’t a pure democracy but a constitutional republic. This means that representatives are given the mandate of the public. Political scholars have helped make this clarification.

The Salem Witch Trials Were Caused By a Fungus

The causes of the Salem witch trials have been found to be more sophisticated than just the fungus explanation. The actual cause was personal vendetta, combined with religious fanaticism and social tensions. The fungus claim came up in the 1970s with no clear proof, eliciting an interesting but inaccurate justification.

Pilgrims Wore Only Black and White Clothing

Although these were the most commonly worn colors, they weren’t the only ones worn by Pilgrims. Studies have revealed that they wore a variety of colors on different occasions. Records by historians show they used dyes for reds, yellows, and greens. The 19th-century illustrations and cultural depictions misled people.

Dogs Are Colorblind

While it hasn’t been established whether dogs can see certain colors, the colorblind tag has been dismissed. They see shades of gray, brown, yellow, and blue. Vision tests by scientists and cannie-eye research revealed this. It’s from less advanced studies in earlier periods that fed this myth.

There Are Left-Brained and Right Brained People

This misconception came from brain lateralization research. As science advanced, it was revealed that both hemispheres worked together. Neuroscientists have clarified that different activities call varied regions of the brain into action. As such, the oversimplified notion of one side of the brain being superior was debunked.

The Tongue Has a Taste Map

Discoveries of taste buds being located across the tongue and different parts of the mouth and throat debunked this myth. Additional knowledge confirms that no taste bud is limited to specific tastes, as science was taught in school. The taste map claim came from a 1901 misinterpretation of a German paper.

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