These Incredible Facts Will Put Your Existence Into Perspective

Did you know we all have pretty stellar roots?

1. Sharks are older than trees.

Trees have been on the planet for about 350 million years, which isn't too shabby considering modern humans have only been around for about 200,000 years. Sharks, on the other hand, first appeared in the oceans over 400 million years ago. Sharks are apex predators, which is a critically important role to keep balance in marine ecosystems. 

Unfortunately, their incredible evolutionary legacy could be coming to an end, as humans kill a staggering 100 million sharks every single year.

2. One teaspoon of neutron star weighs more than all the humans on Earth combined.

Neutron stars are the remnants of massive stars that have died and exploded into supernovae. Though these stars be but little, they are fiercely dense. With a diameter of only 14 miles, they can weigh about 1.5-3 times as much as our Sun. If we were to scoop up a teaspoon of neutron star and weigh it on Earth, it would tip the scales at 10 million tons

3. There are roughly 9,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (9.6 x 10^ 24) water molecules in single glass of water.

With three atoms per molecule (two hydrogens and one oxygen), there are more atoms in that glass of water than there are glasses of water in all of the oceans on Earth. The comparison isn't even close, either. One glass of water contains about 10,000 times more atoms than there are glasses of water on the planet.

4. A single grain of dust is about halfway between the size of the Earth and the size of a proton.

Earth is about 7,918 miles in diameter. Protons are subatomic particles that are about 3.3 x 10^-14 inches across. The difference between these two sizes is so extreme that a single speck of dust is nearly right in the middle of those two sizes.

5. The human body is made of approximately 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 x 10^27) atoms.

All of these atoms come together to build the roughly 10 trillion (10 x 10^12) cells that make up all of the tissues in your body. However, your cells aren't completely alone in your body...

6. There are 10 times more microbial cells than human cells in your body.

You read that correctly. There are roughly 100 trillion microbes (including bacteria, fungi, and archaea) making their home in your body. Your microbiota, as it's known, is essential for proper digestion, vaginal health, skin health, and much more. 

While your human cells may be severely outnumbered, they are much larger. Most human cells are anywhere from 10-100 times larger than bacteria.

7. Your body contains enough iron to make a nail that is three inches long.

There's also enough carbon in you to make the graphite for over 9,000 pencils. Actually, if you were to strip mine a person and sort out all of the elements in their body, they'd be worth about $160 in scrap. However, that number jumps to $45 million when you sort out bone marrow, organs, bones, and other tissues individually. 

8. Every hour, more than enough sunlight hits the Earth to meet global energy demands for an entire year.

Additionally, it would only take 191,817 square miles of solar panels to collect the same amount of energy. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider how many vacant rooftops or expansive deserts there are on this planet, it's not not as much as you'd think.

9. You are currently traveling 1,100 miles per hour as the Earth rotates on its axis.

But that's not all: The Earth is also revolving around the Sun at a rate of 67,100 mph. Our solar system is traveling at 43,000 mph within the galaxy, and the Milky Way itself is moving along at 483,000 mph. But what if you weren't traveling that fast?

10. If Earth immediately stopped rotating on its axis, inertia would send you, and all the planet’s water and land mass, flying forward.

The Earth rotates at the previously mentioned 1,100 mph, and Newton's first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion. If the planet stops rotating (it won't, don't worry), all of people, plants, soil, and rocks not securely connected to the bedrock will be sheared off, and continue to fly forward until the force of gravity brings you (and everything else) back to the ground.

11. The blue whale isn’t just the largest animal alive right now, it is likely the largest animal that has ever lived.

Blue whales can grow to be an astonishing 100 feet long, and weighs about the same as over 2600 adult humans. To reach this incredible size, they need to eat several tons of krill every day. Sadly, these giant creatures are on the verge of extinction, due to being hunted by humans. Blue whales can also be injured by fishing nets that have been discarded in the water, or by crashing into ships. 

12. The amount of time between Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex is greater than the time between T. rex and today.

Though they are both among the most beloved dinosaurs of all time, Stegosaurus and T. rex never even came close to meeting one another. Stegosaurus lived at the end of the Jurassic period about 150 million years ago and had long been extinct before T. rex showed up about 83 million years later in the late Cretaceous. (Yes, no matter what Michael Crichton or Steven Spielberg try to tell you, T. rex should not have been anywhere near a place called Jurassic Park)

13. We are all made of stardust.

Shortly after the Big Bang, the Universe was essentially just hydrogen and helium. As stars formed, they performed nuclear fusion in their cores and manufactured progressively heavier elements. All of the atoms of carbon, iron, calcium, nitrogen, and other elements required for life were forged in the core of stars. These ingredients were only released upon the star's death, when it exploded into a supernova and scattered the elements across the Universe.

With such noble origins, it really makes you look at yourself differently, doesn’t it?

Original photos by Elias LevyTaras Kalapun, and Flickr user tinspoon.