The world is a crazy place. Even the most ordinary, boring, everyday stuff can turn out to have a weird backstory—or do something you had no idea it could.
But there are dangers out there, too. Your cell phone is infested with bacteria (see below) and traces of the bubonic plague have been found in the New York City subway. It turns out, when you dig a little deeper, things that you’ve taken for granted or that seem perfectly normal can surprise you. With that in mind, here are 20 weird little facts you’ll likely be surprised to learn. For more informative tidbits to get your mind racing, here are 10 Amazing Facts to Make You Smarter This Week.
It’s an evolutionary mystery that scientists have had trouble explaining, but humans are the only animals who actually enjoy eating spicy food. There does not seem to be any health benefits to eating painful peppers (though some research finds that it may fight off fungus), so the best reason some have suggested is the thrill factor—no different than the fact that we are the only animals that like rollercoasters and scary movies. And for some great tips on healthy eating, this is the Single Best Weight-Loss Hack You Can Do.
As we get older, our brains tend to shrink and can suffer from cognitive dysfunction like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But as best researchers can tell, we are the only animals to whom this shrinkage happens. Tests on other animals have found no similar phenomena—even close evolutionary relatives like chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys. And for more facts about your body, here are the 40 Ways Your Body Changes After 40.