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Facts that Are Too Bizarre to Be Believed

 Our world is an odd place, with many phenomena we cannot yet explain. From Ripley’s to Guinness, we seem entranced with the improbable and the impossible. Here are some of the most bizarre factoids, from the everyday tidbit you might not know to the truly esoteric:
 
1. Women Have Adam’s Apples
Strange Facts: Adam's appleSource: Gage Skidmore
An Adam’s apple isn’t an organ, but a protrusion of the cartilage surrounding and protecting our larynx. As such, it is present in all humans, and just tends to be more pronounced in males. As to the strange name given to the knob in our throat, it seems to be a mistranslation of a Hebrew phrase meaning “a man’s swollen lump”, as Adam can mean both the Biblical first man and just any man, and the words for “apple” and “swelling” are written the same way in Hebrew.
2. The Color Is Named After the Fruit, Not the Other Way Around
Strange Facts: orange
Oranges are all native to East Asia but were introduced into North Africa and Europe through Arab expansion in the middle ages. The name comes ultimately from the Sanskrit “naranga” (compare Spanish “naranja”), but the fruit that was introduced by the Moors wasn’t the orange that we love and cherish today, rather it was the bitter orange. 
The sweet orange was strictly Chinese and came to Europe and the Middle East in the 16th via Portuguese traveling merchants returning from China, which is why in many North European languages it is known as a “Chinese apple” (which is even more confusing, as the proper name for tangerines is “Mandarin orange”), while in many Muslim countries it's simply called “Portugal”. 
Before all of this mass citrine import, Europeans referred to the color as saffron or yellow-red.
3. There’s a Penguin in the Norwegian Royal Guard
Strange Facts: Nils OlavSource: Mark Owens
The penguin, brigadier sir Nils Olav III, actually resides in the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland and is a knight of the Order of St. Olav, as authorized by King Harald V of Norway. This particular king penguin is the third Nils Olav in a proud line from the Edinburgh Zoo to serve in the Norwegian Army. Nils Olav the first was adopted by the Norwegian military in 1972, and every consequent Nils Olav carried over the ranks and insignia of the one that predated him.
4. Sharks Predate Trees
Strange Facts: shark
Trees have been around forever, right? Wrong. In fact, sharks have been here longer, by a rather large margin. The earliest plant which could be classified as a tree emerged in what is today Sahara about 350 million years ago, while sharks have been sowing terror in the ocean for 400 million years, changing very little throughout the ages.
5. There’s a Crab in Japan with a Face on Its Back
Strange Facts: heikeganiSource: RD 77
Heikegani are crabs that are said to be imbued with the vengeful ghosts of dead samurai, which is why they appear to have an angry face on their shell that looks like an Oni- a type of a tusked Japanese demon, the masks of which are pretty popular in Japanese theater:
Strange Facts: oniSource: Tommaso Meli
6. The Closest Animal to Extinct Dinosaurs is the Chicken
Most of us have been taught that dinosaurs all went extinct following a cataclysmic asteroid collision some 65 million years ago. Well, that’s not true. Certainly, most species of dinosaurs did die out, but a select few have managed to adapt and evolve in a manner that allowed them to survive the dramatic climate changes that followed the meteor. Their descendants are birds, which are technically termed “avian dinosaurs”. According to genetic studies conducted on all manner of fowl, the bird that is closest to those dinosaurs that went extinct is the chicken.
7. In Switzerland, You Can’t Own a Single Guinea Pig
Strange Facts: guinea pig
That’s right, in the strict Alpine country, having a lone guinea pig is considered animal abuse, as you are depriving the small rodent companionship. As such, the law mandate that you have at least two guinea pigs, if you get any.
8. Between 90-100% of East Asians are Lactose Intolerant
Strange Facts: dairy
Some people in far eastern countries complain that westerners reek of milk. It is understandable that they might have an aversion to milk, as dairy products were only introduced into China, Japan and South Korea recently through westernization, and never truly became part of the local cuisine. East Asians are certainly the most susceptible to lactose intolerance, but they’re not alone- most ethnic groups have an overwhelming tendency towards lactose intolerance, with one exception- Europeans.
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