Friday, August 5, 2011

Fun Friday Facts #2: Sleepless sea creatures, headless chickens, and the longest hiccup fit EVAR

It's that time of the week again – time for another installment of Fun Friday Facts! Get ready to learn something, kids, cause I'm about to give you all the conversational fodder you'll need for this weekend's dinner parties, barbecues, picnics and drinking binges.

1) On September 10, 1945, a Fruita, Colorado farmer named Lloyd Olsen went out to kill a rooster for the family's evening meal. Fortunately for both Lloyd and the rooster, he screwed it up.

The blade missed the rooster's jugular and carotid arteries and left its brain stem intact. As a result, the headless rooster shrugged, said “Meh,” and carried on living for another 18 months. It preened, pecked for food, and even continued crowing, although the crow was described as “gurgling” and “less than impressive.” Lloyd used an eyedropper to feed and water the rooster, and to periodically remove the mucus that accumulated in and blocked its windpipe.

During the course of its headless life, Mike the Chicken enjoyed perfect health (except for that head thing) and put on more than five pounds (2.3 kilos). The Olsens took Mike on the road, and he became famous nationwide, netting his owners the modern equivalent of $48,000 a month until his death from suffocation in 1947.

2) Researchers working at the University of California, Santa Cruz believe they have evidence that Homo sapiens interbed with Neanderthals, a species of human that died out 30,000 years ago. They've found that people all over the planet – even people native to places where Neanderthals never lived – share between one and four percent of their DNA with this more primitive species. I suppose that might explain a this guy in Idaho who's been told by the police to stop going out in his bunny suit, because he's scaring the neighbors.

To be fair, they might have a point. -- Davis Doherty

3) Dolphins sleep with one eye open. They're able to do this by putting one half of their brains to sleep, while the other half remains active. But that's kind of oversimplifying things, because even that sleep isn't the same as our sleep. Some scientists have said that dolphins pretty much don't sleep at all.

"Whaddya mean, 'sleep'? I'm a friggin' dolphin!" -- Just Taken Pics

4) The Cheddar Man is a 9,000-year-old skeleton found in Gough's Cave, Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England. They reckon he died from a hole in the head, since he seems to have a hole in his head.

I searched "Cheddar Man" on Google Images and this is what I got. -- Carly  & Art

In 1996-97, a team of Oxford University researchers compared the Cheddar Man's DNA to that of the town's modern residents. They discovered that local resident Adrian Targett, along with two small children whose names were kept private, are directly descended from the 9,000-year-old skeleton. That means their families have been in the area since 7150 BC.

See, Martha, I told you we'd never get out of this podunk town. -- METROgrl

5) Charles Osbourne, a resident of Anthon, Iowa, holds the record for the world's longest hiccupping fit. He started hiccupping in 1922, and continued hiccupping 20 to 40 times a minute until 1990.

That's 68 years of drinking from the wrong side of the glass. -- allaboutgeorge

Despite his hiccupping problem, Charles married and sired eight children. He died on May 1, 1991, at the age of 97. He had been hiccup-free for more than a year.