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Bees Are Fish: The Strangest Facts We Learned In 2022

The year has been a wild ride for bees, spiders and butts.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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A close up of a bee's face.

Get a load of this fish. Image credit: Pascal Guay/shutterstock.com

Look, we get it, it's been too weird of a year (like the year before it, and the year before that, and the year before that) to keep track of everything weird that took place. Fortunately, we have been keeping track of all the strange developments as well as odd things we've come across in the last 12 months. Here are a few of our favorites.

Spiders dream

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Yes, this was the year when spiders got even cuter. Researchers recording the eye and leg movements of jumping spiders noticed that their retinal tubes moved regularly during sleep, coinciding with a period where they twitched their legs. The researchers believe it is the first evidence of REM sleep in a terrestrial invertebrate.

Dead spiders make great claw machines

While it's cute that they dream, let's be frank: who hasn't looked at a spider and thought "that would make a great grabbing device"? Not scientists, that's who.

Spiders have no muscles in their limbs to force their legs outwards. In order to scuttle about, they move their legs using hydraulic pressure, redirecting liquids to their legs and building up pressure, forcing them outwards. Scientists realized they could use the spider as a grabbing tool by forcing air into and out of the legs artificially. That'll give them something to dream about.

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Penguin eggs are see-through when cooked

There are few things less appetizing than the idea of eating a penguin egg, but one of those things is this fact about a penguin egg: they remain see-through when boiled. Or fried, or poached.

While you can eat them (if you can face an egg that tastes extremely fishy), cooking the egg leaves them translucent, allowing you to preview the yolk before you eat it.

Putting a clothes hanger on your head can make it turn involuntarily

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An old urban legend turns out to be true: if you put a clothes hanger on your head, it can cause your head to turn involuntarily like you're in a cheap sequel to Ratatouille


Known as the "hanger reflex", a peer-reviewed study looked into the phenomenon, placing hangers on the heads of healthy volunteers. Of the volunteers, 85 percent experienced involuntary rotation of their heads, with 96 percent saying they felt a sense of rotation.

How people wiped their butts before toilet paper

Here's a weird fact for you: the first toilet paper wasn't made until 1857. Before that, people had to rely on other methods to clean up back there. While in China they favored a bamboo stick wrapped in cotton cloth, Europeans went for a slightly different sponge-on-a-stick technique

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By far the worst part about the sponge on a stick is that it was communal.

Bees are fish

Bees are fish, according to Californian law. Biologically speaking, of course, bees are not fish, as the justices at California's Third District Court of Appeal noted in their ruling. However, the court decided that bumble bees can be classed as an invertebrate, offering them protection under the California Endangered Species Act, which previously did not protect them.

The Mandela Effect is sort of real

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The Mandela Effect is talked about a fair amount on the weirder parts of the Internet (Reddit). Essentially, the term is given to collective false memories of a thing or event. It is named after people misremembering Nelson Mandela's death, believing it to have happened long before his actual death in 2013.

Weirdly, this year a study looked into the Mandela effect, focusing on visual versions of it. Researchers found that in the general population there are certain cases of collective false memories, where large numbers of people misremembered the exact same details as each other. What's more, the researchers don't really know why.

Here's to an even weirder 2023.


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