The world is an ever-changing place. Not even widely accepted facts are safe from change. There are a lot of things that you were taught as a kid that have been proven false. And no, your teachers weren't just trying to 1984 you!
We all learned handy pneumonic devices to remember the names of the nine planets (My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies), but in 2003, those pneumonic devices all changed when an astronomer discovered an object larger than Pluto in space. In 2006, Pluto was downgraded to a "dwarf planet" by the International Astronomical Union. Now we have a whole new set of pneumonic devices to learn.
Move over diamonds, there's a new hardest material in town! Kids used to be taught that diamonds were so hard that nothing could cut diamonds except for diamonds. But two scientists compressed a form of boron nitride particles to form ultrahard, nanotwinned cubic boron nitride, and now that's the hardest material. Sorry, diamonds. At least you're still pretty?
Salem witches are often depicted as getting burned at stake for their crimes, but in reality, they were only hanged. Which isn't as spectacular, but still pretty grim. The townsfolk of Salem followed English law, which listed witchcraft as a crime punishable by hanging, not burning. But they were still actual witches, though. Right??
It's been believed that Jewish slaves built the pyramids, partly in thanks to movies like The Prince of Egypt. But according to Amihai Mazar, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "No Jews built the pyramids because Jews didn't exist at the period when the pyramids were built." Additionally, archeologists recently found evidence that the Egyptians built the pyramids themselves using workers from poor families. The workers were treated honorably and earned proper burial and crypts near the pyramids. They earned it, because those stones must have been heavy.
6. You Can't Fold A Piece Of Paper More Than Seven Times
It's been taught for a long time that it's physically impossible to fold a piece of paper more than seven times. And so people stopped at seven. But one student dared to challenge the scientific community and question our long-held beliefs by going beyond the accepted eight and folding a piece of paper a whopping 12 times. In 2012, her record was broken when students in Massachusetts folded a piece of paper 13 times. Let's never forget these brave students who stood up to scientific convention and changed the world.
7. The Great Wall Of China Is The Only Thing Manmade That's Visible From Space
Some people think that it's not even a real fact that you can see the Great Wall of China from space; just something school kids would say to make themselves sound smarter on the playground. But it's true. Under the right conditions, you can see the Great Wall of China and other manmade structures, like major roads and lights from cities. But you can't see any of those things from space, so if someone spouted off that "fact," they're probably just a doody-head.
8. The Brontosaurus Is One Whole Complete Dinosaur
Every little kid was obsessed with dinosaurs, especially the Brontosaurus. You know, the one with the really long neck. There's been controversy over the fossils pretty much since they were discovered, but recently scientists settled the score once and for all when it was decided the fossils that they thought went to one complete dinosaur (the Brontosaurus) were really part of two separate dinosaurs (the Apatosaurus and Camarasaurus).
Thanks for ruining Jurassic Park for us, science!
9. There's A Missing Link Between Humans And Primates
After the general acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution, it became okay to teach that humans evolved from monkeys in schools. But the missing link between humans and monkeys was just that — missing.
Until Ida came along.
In 2009, paleontologists discovered a 47-million-year-old fossil in Germany believed to be the missing link between humans and primates. They named her Ida. She's closely related to the lemur, so it's possible she might not actually be the missing link, but she's still the closest thing we have to a "direct ancestor."
10. There's Only Three Classifications Of Kingdoms
In science class, kids were taught about the three kingdoms (animals, plants and bacteria). But these days, attitudes have shifted to become more inclusive, and that extends to our classification of life. There's now six kingdoms that are taught (fungi, protists and archaea were added), but scientists think that there might be up to eight floating around, although the big six are what is commonly taught in the U.S.
There have been a lot of theories about how the dinosaurs died, but growing up, there was a commonly accepted theory that a giant volcano wiped them all out. But it has been theorized that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid hitting Earth. Scientists found a 66-million-year-old asteroid crater, which scientists think contributed to the extinction of 75% of Earth's life, including the dinosaurs. And that's how the widespread teaching of the volcano theory went extinct.
Back in the day, kids were firmly taught that Earth was the only planet with water in it. But as of late, scientists have found water on other planets right in our own back yard... and beyond. For starters, Mars was found to be swimming in it, and Jupiter's moon Europa has more water than there is on our own planet.
Long story short, if humans ever drink all the water there is on Earth, we'll be totally fine.
Up until the 2000s, it was widely believed that King Tut was murdered. But in 2006, evidence was uncovered that King Tut might have actually died in a chariot accident. The weird story of King Tut's mysterious death took yet another plot turn in 2014 when a virtual autopsy found that King Tut most likely died due to illnesses and weakness caused from... inbreeding.