Wanna feel old? Go somewhere else. We’re here to make you realize that everything is older than you. Are you reading this on a phone? A computer? Guess what… Computers are old as heck (if you count the abacus).
Everything is older than you thought. Well, almost everything. Some celebrities and politicians are walking around with brand new teeth. Billionaires are full of young people’s blood. But do you know when humans invented the first phone? Or how long sharks have been around? I didn’t hear about them until 1999 until the movie Deep Blue Sea came out.
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, but humans have only been around pointing at stuff for, I don’t know, a few hundred? It’s important to have perspective. That’s what this list is all about.
Here are some things you didn’t know were old:
1. Some of the static on your TV is leftover from The Big Bang.
We’ll start with the oldest subject on the list: microwaves. Not the thing that’s heating up the Hot Pocket you’re having for dinner tonight. When The Big Bang occurred, there was a huge blast of energy. That energy can be measured by anything that picks up a radio signal, which means whenever you turn your TV to a channel of static, some of those waves the TV is trying to interpret are from the beginning of the universe.
2. Saturn’s rings aren’t nearly as old as sharks.
Sharks have been around for 450 million years. That’s why they look so angry. They’re tired of being here on this planet. The rings of Saturn have only been around between 10-100 million years. That means a shark could have looked up at the night sky 300 million years ago and seen… nothing. They’re underwater and I don’t think their eyesight is great. They’re colorblind after all. Sad.
3. The first shower was invented in 100 BC.
Egypt and the Ancient Greeks had servants who poured water over a wall onto their bodies. It was like the Flintstones with the dinosaurs pouring water over them, but less cute since this involved slavery.
4. Carbonated beverages are nearly as old as America.
J.J. Schweppe was a German-Swiss man who put bubbles in mineral water for the first time in 1783. That means the French Revolution hadn’t happened yet. People were finding out about the American Revolution just as some strange-tasting water hit the markets.
5. The last thing some dinosaurs saw before a meteor killed them was the first grass ever to grow on Earth.
Honestly, I think it’d be cooler if our yards were full of dirt and tiny little dinosaurs we had to mow, but sadly, grass survived and dinosaurs did not.
6. Pepper became commonplace in the 17th century, but salt has been with us forever.
As long as humans have been around, so have humans been on the hunt for salt. People near the ocean used to stick burning torches into the sea. When the torched dried, salt would be leftover. Pepper, on the other hand, was only affordable for the rich in the 17th century. People would show off their bags off pepper at dinner parties. Now it’s just on the table. According to Bill Bryson’s At Home, there was a third common option on tables (possibly mustard seed) but no one bothered to write down what it was, so humans are stuck with these two.
7. Macchu Pichu is not nearly as old as the Tower of London.
One might look older than the other, but the Tower of London was built in 1066 and Macchu Pichu was built in 1450.
8. Forms of social media existed during the Renaissance.
During the Renaissance, people used physical books called alba amicorum (literally “book of friends”) to record their opinions on politics and gossip. Our generation didn’t invent anything new.
9. Batteries were around roughly 2,000 years before you could put them in a Game Boy.
The Baghdad Battery was comprised of iron and copper in 250 BC, though no one is clear about its use.
10. First came the Moon Landing. Then, came wheels on luggage.
There was no patent on wheeled luggage until 1972, 3 years after the moon landing. The good news is that baggage is lighter on the moon.
11. Vending machines were around before phones, but phones have been around a thousand years.
Technically, the first phone was not made by Alexander Graham Bell, but rather some strange person who connected to gourds together with a string. This happened 1,200 years ago, but the vending machine was designed by Heron of Alexandria 2,000 years ago.
12. Chewing gum is even older than brain surgery.
Since about 6,000 years ago, people have been pulling tree bark off of trees and chewing it for fun. Human skulls found 5,000 years show sophisticated incisions that prove humans tried their hand at cutting open the brain long before they could use proper anesthesia.
13. Running shoes predate the American Civil War.
They looked more like dress shoes with cleats, but it’s true. If only Abraham Lincoln had taken up jogging. He might have been less depressed.
14. Scissors are older than Jesus.
The earliest version of scissors were found in Mesopotamia and date back to 4,000 years ago. Now we know what Jesus used to cut the bread he served at the Last Supper.
h/t several facts came from Bright Side