Fast Facts

Are apple pips poisonous?

Apple pips contain cyanide and you can be poisoned by them if you eat too many, though it would take about a cupful. You might be sick of apples by then.

Why don’t woodpeckers get headaches?

Woodpeckers have fluid surrounding their brains. They also have very large skulls and comparatively small brains, meaning their brain tissue does not have much momentum on impact – unlike, say, a human boxer. They also have shock absorbers in the beak and skull.

How many bones are in the human body?

An adult skeleton contains 206 distinct bones: 26 in the vertebral column; 8 in the cranium; 14 in the face; 7 other skull bones; 25 in the sternum and ribs; 64 in the upper limbs and 62 in the lower limbs. The stirrup bone, one of the three auditory ossicles in the middle ear, is the smallest. It is between 2.6mm and 3.4mm long, and weighs from 2.00 to 4.3mg.

How do cats purr?

In domestic cats it is a vibration of an elastic ligament linking the clavicle bone to the throat – which creates a purr during inhaling and exhaling. In their larger cousins, things are slightly different, restricting the purring to an out-breath only. Neither kind of cat ever stops purring – they just control the volume – with loud purrs conveying anything from anger in a Snow Leopard to contentment in a Tabby.

Where were dinosaurs discovered?

Dinosaurs were first found in the Western world in Britain in 1817, when quarrymen in the village of Stonesfield, in north Oxfordshire, discovered some megalosaurus bones. It was eight years before another dinosaur was found near Cuckfield in Sussex in 1825 by Dr Gideon Mantell. He called the animal an iguanodon.

How long do slugs live?

Life expectancy of these blighters varies greatly, depending on type and size. In general, very small slugs live about 6 months, while very large ones can live for between 8 and 10 years.

Why does hair go grey?

A hair is basically a tube filled with cells and pigment with spaces in between. When hair is young, the spaces are filled with fluid and this keeps the pigment in place. As we get older, our skin does not produce hair quite so well and the spaces become filled with air. The pigment is lost and the hair gradually becomes white.

Are women better multi-taskers than men?

Probably. Studies show that, on average, women are better at dealing with several different stimuli at the same time than men are. Average is the operative word: it does not mean that every woman is better than every man. Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that this may be because in early human societies women bore the brunt of childcare, so they had to respond to the demands of their children while remaining alert to danger and foraging for plant food. Men were responsible for hunting animals for meat, so they had to be mentally focused.

It’s easy to devise theories like this; much harder to prove they are correct.

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