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Did You Know? 61 Amazing Facts

Posted by Carrie Cabral | Oct 7, 2019 10:00:00 AM

General Education

 

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Everybody loves looking like the smartest person in the room with cool and interest facts. While I’m a big fan of random and fun facts, Did You Know Facts are facts that you can use as supporting evidence, whether it’s in a timed essay, a debate, or even a conversation. Did You Know Facts help expand your knowledge base so you’re prepared for any situation, and have the benefit of making you seem like you know what you’re talking about on any subject.

 

What Is a "Did You Know?" Fact?

Did you know that you can incorporate outside facts into your essays, debates and conversations? Did you know that facts make your argument stronger and more interesting? There's a whole world of fun and interesting facts out there, on all kinds of subjects. Read on to find out how to use "did you know facts" to your advantage, and dive into our list of fascinating facts.

 

Using Did You Know Facts in Essays

The SAT and ACT optional writing sections that include times essays, and the GRE has an essay in its mandatory writing section. Statewide standardized tests or tests you take in school may also time essay sections.

Supporting evidence from facts increases your score, since it makes your argument stronger, or can help you clarify a point or topic. Since timed essays are written in the same structure as an academic paper, where you defend a thesis, it’s always made stronger by factual or statistical evidence, particularly if you can show that you can apply outside knowledge to the prompt at hand.

It’s helpful to go into a test with a few Did You Know Facts already in mind, things that you can hopefully apply to whatever your prompt is. Historical, literary, and political facts are great for essays since they’re more broad, and can be applied to more prompts.

 

Using Did You Know Facts in Debates

In a debate, you should already be prepared and have your facts and ideas ready to go. However, a fun fact can impress your audience and judges and throw off your opponent. Even if the fact isn’t directly related to your topic, having more supporting evidence and showing how your argument influences other things than the ones you’ve outlined in your debate prep can help put the discussion in context, and enrich the debate.

 

Did You Know? Fun Facts in 7 Categories

This list offers some interesting facts in different categories. These facts are fun and interesting, but also can be used as supporting evidence. If you're looking for facts to keep in your toolbox for things like times essays, remember that statistics are always strongest, and to choose facts that are relevant to your topic.

 

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Did You Know These Facts About Animals and Nature?

  • The closest living relative to humans are chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. We share between 98 and 99.6% of DNA with these species. Gorillas can even catch colds from humans.

  • Most mammals have reproductive cycles. However, only humans, humpback whales, and elephants experience menopause.

  • To escape a crocodiles jaw, push your thumb into its eyeballs.

  • Cats have only lived with people for about 7,000 years. Compared to dogs, whose domestication may have begun as early as 25,000 years ago.

  • Most of the Earth’s longest-surviving species are found in the ocean. While cyanobacterias are technically the oldest living organisms on Earth, having appeared 2.8 billion years ago, the ocean sponge has also been on Earth for 580 million years, and jellyfish have been here for 550 million years.

  • 85% of plant life is found in the ocean.

  • The Amazon rainforest is an amazing place. The Amazon produces over 20% of the world’s oxygen, and contains more than half of the world’s species of plants, animals, and insects.

  • Additionally, up to 73 million sharks per year die due to shark finning, where fishermen catch the shark, cut off its fins, and throw the still-living shark back into the water. Many countries have imposed full or partial bans on finning, mainly that the sharks need to arrive onshore with fins attached. A few countries, notably Israel, Egypt, Ecuador, Honduras, Brunei and the Maldives, have total shark fishing bans.

  • Many animals exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence. For example, cows form bonds akin to friendships, and often have a “best friend,” and Gentoo Penguins bring a potential mate a pebble to “propose.”

  • Dog noses are as unique as a human fingerprint.

 

Did You Know These Facts About History?

  • Paul Revere famously yelled “The British Are Coming!’ at the start of the American Revolution. Or...not. Revere was just one member of a secret militia operation to warn other militias about the British troops. A lot of colonial Americans still considered themselves British at that time, and would have likely been confused if he’d actually said or shouted this.

  • Many people came forward pretending to be Grand Duchess Anastasia after the Czar fell in the Russian Revolution. But Anastasia impersonators came from a long tradition of royal imposters; Louis XVII of France died during the French Revolution, and years later when the country was discussing a revival of the monarchy, over 100 people came forward claiming to be the prince.

  • There were more than 600 plots to kill Fidel Castro. Plots were crafted by a variety of enemies, and even included an exploding cigar.

  • The patent for the first car was filed in 1886 by Karl Benz for a gas-powered, 3-wheel motor car.

  • Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin were all nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. While not all nominees since have been controversy-free, whoever nominated these three probably regretted it.

  • We know now that the bubonic plague was in part spread by rats. But before the plague, Pope Gregory IX declared that cats were associated with devil worship and ordered that they be exterminated. Unfortunately, people listened and as a result the rat population flourished. It is believed that the increased rat population contributed to the plague. (Ahem, actions have consequences, and don’t mess with cats)

  • Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress in 1916, 4 years before women had the right to vote. She was a pacifist from Montana, and was elected a second time in 1941. Both times, she voted no in regards to entering World Wars 1 and 2.

  • Seven of the 10 deadliest wars in history have taken place in China. The Taping Rebellion had twice as many deaths as World War 1.

  • Pineapples are all the rage now, but they were also a fad in the UK in the 1700s. People carried them around to show their wealth and status, and people decorated their homes with pineapples. You could even rent a pineapple as an accessory.

Bonus: Jeanette Rankin was one of the few suffragists elected to Congress. Unfortunately, Montana has not elected a woman to Congress since.

 

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Did You Know These Facts About Science?

  • 20% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.

  • The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth at 2,000 kilometers long.

  • Most of us are familiar with the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. But there are actually two dozen known states of matter. Plasma is one example, but scientists have also found other states of matter that only occur under certain conditions.

  • When helium is cooled to absolute zero (-460 degrees Fahrenheit) it becomes a liquid and starts flowing upward, against gravity.

  • The moon once had an atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions on the moon released trillions of tons of gas into the air, which created an atmosphere. The gases eventually became lost to space.

  • When Einstein posed his Theory of Relativity, he didn’t have the resources to prove this theory. However, the theory has been proven correct several times over the years. Most recently in 2018, scientists saw that as a black hole distorted light waves from a nearby star in a way that agrees with the theory.

  • Scientists have answered the question “what comes first the chicken or the egg?” The chicken came first because the egg shell contains a protein that can only be made from a hen.

  • It is mainly men who experience colorblindness.1/20 men experience color blindness as opposed to 1/200 women.

  • Scientists were called “natural philosophers” until the 17th century because science didn’t exist as a concept.

 

Did You Know These Facts About Famous People?

  • Natalie Portman is a Harvard graduate and has had papers published in two scientific journals, one of which was when she was in high school.

  • Some of Neil Patrick Harris’ characters are magicians, and so if the actor. His children’s book series, The Magic Misfits, is also about a group of magicians.

  • Colin Kaepernick got a pet tortoise at age 10, that fit in a shoebox. Today, the tortoise is 115 pounds and may live to be 135 years old.

  • The Doctor Suess book Green Eggs and Ham uses only 50 different words. Doctor Suess wrote the book on a bet from his publisher that he couldn’t write a book with fewer words than The Cat in the Hat, which has 225.

  • Woody Harrelson’s father was a hitman, who left the family when the actor was young. Woody didn’t find out about his father’s criminal activity until he heard a radio report on his trial.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King was a Star Trek fan. He convinced Nichelle Nichols, one of the first black women featured on a major TV show, not to quit, arguing that her role was making history. Mae Jamison, the first black woman to travel into space, later cited Nichols as one of her inspirations.

  • Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-serving British monarch. She has been on the throne for 67 years. The 93 year old queen’s heir is currently her son Charles, who is 70.

  • Isaac Asimov published so many books, essays, short fiction, and non-fiction, that if you read one per week it would take you 9 years to read all of his work.

 

Did You Know These Facts About Politics and Government?

  • In 2018, 50.3% of eligible voters turned out to vote. This was the highest turnout for a midterm election since 2018.

  • Also in 2018, 16% of voters said it was the first time they’d voted in a midterm election.

  • About ⅓ of Americans think the president affects their personal lives, and 63% say he affects the country’s mood.

  • The U.S. spends more on defense than the other 7 countries combined. Last year, the U.S. spent $649 billion, while China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany spent a combined $609 billion

  • Any person born in the United States or to U.S. citizen parents is also a U.S. citizen.

  • The U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17th, 1787. It was meant not to “grant” rights, but to protect the rights people were born with.

  • Although the U.S. has a two party system, there are some other third parties. Notable ones now are the tea party and the green party, but the U.S. once had fringe parties like the Bull and Moose party.

  • Americans throw out 4.4 pounds of trash daily.

 

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Did You Know These Facts About Sports?

  • The NCAA required football players to study during halftime in 1925

  • The Stanley Cup was originally two stories tall, but it was deemed too difficult to transport

  • Basketball legend Michael Jordan also played baseball, and allegedly still received his basketball salary while a member of the Chicago White Sox system.

  • Only three active players are in the top 50 on the all-time MLB home run list, yet 27 of the last 50 have played within the last 50 years.

  • There has never been a three-peat in the Super Bowl

  • Until 1992, female athletes competing in the Olympics had to undergo mandatory sex verification testing, due to fears that male athletes would disguise themselves as female to gain an advantage. The Olympic Committee still maintains the right to conduct testing if “suspicions arise.” There were no such requirements for male athletes.

  • Punters have the longest NFL careers, at an average of 4.87 years.

  • In 1972, Title IX was adopted, and opened the door for women and girls participation in sports. Before Title IX, women were 2% of college students participating in sports, and girls were 7% of high school students participating in sports. In 2019, high school girls are 42.7% of sports participants, and college women make up 44% of athletes.

 

Did You Know These Facts About Pop Culture?

  • Friday the 13th was filmed at a Boy Scout Camp. Fans of the film would go up to the camp to visit, take photos, and sometimes scare the campers, to the point where the camp had to ask on its website for people to stop coming there.

  • Elvis’s manager sold buttons that said “I hate Elvis” in order to make money off the many people who found his music controversial.

  • The world’s oldest piano is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It dates back to 1720.

  • Red Dawn was the first movie to be released with a PG-13 rating. It was released on August 10th, 1984.

  • The first movie to be released with an X rating (no admittance under the age of 16) was Greetings in 1968, Robert de Niro’s debut film. The rating was later reduced to R.

  • Mr. Rogers always announced when he was feeding his fish. He did so because a blind viewer wrote in, asking if the fish was okay, since she couldn’t see that he’d fed it.

  • The show M*A*S*H* was on TV for almost 13 years. The show was about the Korean War, in which American involvement only lasted three years.

  • In Game of Thrones, cloaks the members of the Night’s Watch wear are made from Ikea rugs

  • The shows Saved by the Bell, That’s so Raven, and iCarly were all filmed on the same “school” set, which is why they look so similar.

 

As they say, knowledge is power! And you, my friend, are one powerful person. While you can certainly use this list of facts to get high scores on your essays or stump your debate opponent, I also recommend that you take the opportunity to learn more about the things on the list. A lot of these facts are just the beginning of some super interesting topics and stories, and the first step in helping you become more informed about the world in which we live. Now you know, and happy reading!

 

What's Next?

Looking for compelling essay ideas? Check out these lists of Argumentative Essay Topics and Persuasive Essay Topics.

While you're working on your essay writing skills, make sure to read these guides on and writing an argumentative essay, and this guide on writing on analytical essay.

Are you taking the SAT or ACT writing section? Read How to Get an 800 on the SAT Writing and How to Write an ACT Essay.

And look for our lists of debate topics and research paper topics!

 

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About the Author

Carrie holds a Bachelors in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and is currently pursuing an MFA. She worked in book publishing for several years, and believes that books can open up new worlds. She loves reading, the outdoors, and learning about new things.



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