25 Facts Learned in School That Are No Longer True

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Your tongue doesn’t have a taste map

Did you learn about a “taste map” when you were a child? It’s hooey, apparently, Professor Steven D. Munger of the University of Florida writes in The Conversation news website. The receptors that sense sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami are evenly distributed all over your tongue. The taste map grew out of a graph published in a paper by a German scientist in 1901—it was an inaccurate representation of his experimental findings, but others took it literally and extended it over the decades that followed.


A swallowed piece of gum doesn’t take seven years to digest

Nobody knows where this theory comes from, but it has been passed through generations of school-aged children chewing their gum to avoid getting busted chewing it in class. A Florida pediatric gastroenterologist named David Milov tells the Scientific American that this is certainly not true— although he claims that he rarely finds a chewed gum in the digestive tract during colonoscopies or endoscopies.

But “usually it’s not something that’s any more than a week old.” Most gum goes straight into the digestive tract, and this stomach-churning theory is one of the myths you’ve been told as a child that you still believe.

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