Here are a few more common myths explained:
Animals can predict impending natural disasters.
This has been a belief going back to 2000 B.C. when it was documented that weasels abandoned their normal habitats moments before earthqakes struck the island of Crete. Most recently, people witnessed elephants and other animals running towards higher ground before the tsunami hit Southern Asia.
So do animals posess a sixth sense when it comes to predicting Mother Nature's wrath?
At this point, scientists cannot say there is ample evidence to conclude that animals have some sort of extraordinary powers to do so. It's well documented that animals do have keener senses than humans. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, for example. Animals probably are able to sense certain vibrations, changes in air pressure, or smell the change in the wind - and their natural instincts guide them to avoid disasters. Therefore, you have a few elephants running away from the sensed danger, and other animals follow their own herding instinct and 'get the hell outta Dodge.'
This belief is FALSE, although anytime you see a bunch of animals running in a certain direction in a panic...you probably should follow.
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A dog's mouth is more sterile than a human's.
I've heard this quite a bit. I am a dog lover, but I do not allow my dogs to lick my face. Some dog owners do...and they say it's OK because they state the fact that a dog's mouth is actually cleaner and more germ-free than a human's.
Why do people believe this?
There were some studies done a couple decades ago that proved human bites had a higher rate of infection than any other mammal's bite. It seems from these findings, people drew conclusions that a dog's mouth - or any other animal's mouth - was more sterile that a human being's.
Recently, those studies have come under fire as not being so accurate.
The truth is that a dog's mouth is not more sterile that our own. "A dog's mouth contains a lot of bacteria," says Dr. Gary "Ask the Vet" Clemons. "Remember, a dog's tongue is not only his wash cloth but also his toilet paper." I've watched my dogs lick themselves...now why would I think that somehow their mouths are cleaner than mine? I know where MY mouth has been, and I can say for sure it has not been in my crotch. So this myth is truly a myth - and a FALSE one indeed.
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Most of us to this - we're outside in the rain with no umbrella, so we run (or walk very fast) to get underneath some shelter. So is it worth it to run in the rain? Do you really end up less wet by running?
Scores of physicists have created formulas and many scientists have done a ton of experiments. The problem is - there are just too many variables involved with this situation. The size and shape of the human body, wind velocity, rain direction - all of these affect the outcomes. The main argument against this belief is that if you run, you will actually get more wet; the runner is simply running into the "rain field" and therefore getting more drops to hit him. An Italian physicist, several from England, a few from the States - all have come up with the same conclusion, overall:
When caught in the rain, it's best to run. Two scientists from North Carolina took the test outdoors to the Appalachian Mountains during a 1996 summer rainstorm. One of them wore a cotton sweatsuit and hat and ran a 100 meter loop in the rain. Then donned a dry, but identical sweatsuit and hat and walked 100 meters. Here's what they found: The walker's sweatsuit was 40% wetter/heavier than the runner's. Interestingly, the runner's hat was far less wet as well.
So this belief is actually TRUE. One physicist has a website where you can enter all kinds of data - like your body's dimensions, your speed, rain speed, and windspeed. Then it will tell you how wet you will be on your head, your chest, your rear and your sides. Check it out here. No matter what physics tells you, however, I think the best thing is for you to get an umbrella. And guys, you won't look like a sissy carrying an umbrella. Without one in a rainstorm, you will look like a moron. A wet moron.