16 Mysteries Scientists Can NOT Explain

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Mysteries… Who doesn’t like them? Well people used to hate them.  Ever since our ancestors managed to find tome free time, whilst trying to obtain food and survive, they used it to come up with some weird explanations about their surroundings.

Imagine a bright young kid during the Neolithic age asking his father “Dad, how did we appear on this land…. How did we learn to use fire” and his Dad has to think of something that sounds at least a bit reasonable, like “Well kid, your great-great-great-great-great Grandfather was made of clay, and his wife was made from his rib, and fire was given to us by the god living a top of that mountain over there. Are we cool?”. Essentially that is how religion was born.

For quite some time religion provided us with answers. Answers that were sometimes outright stupid, but good enough for most of the people. But then science came, and turned everything upside down with a bang, it was like “Earth is not flat, the sun is not a burning chariot, but a star like all others, the world is older than 6 000 years, stuff is made from things called atoms, there are no gods up in the sky, there are no devils and demons underground….” and so on.

Science entered the scene with a blast, and started providing alternative explanations to everything, backing them with some elaborate equations and charts, which not everyone understands, but they look more credible than the priest’s explanations.

Finding the answer to one question usually led to creating several other mysteries, but scientists all over the world were working hard to explain each and every one of them. For several centuries now scientists are like the Scooby-Doo gang “Jinkies, now there’s a mystery. We better solve it, Zoinks”, and one by one the secrets of life and our universe were exposed “I would’ve remained a mystery if it wasn’t for those meddling scientists”. And for the most part they were successful, however they missed a thing or two in the process.

Nowadays a scientist can dig up a rock from the ground, play around with it in his lab and tell you that it is actually a dung that came from an animal that existed millions of years ago. He can also tell you what that animal actually ate, and that it died from an awful cataclysm that happened because of a rock that was flying in space. They can tell you that a star that you are looking at is actually not there anymore, and you are looking at light that was emitted some billions of years ago… Yes, that is how deep they have dug themselves in the mysteries of our universe. But you can still drive them crazy by asking them, some simple things from everyday life that don’t have a good explanation to this day.

That is right. While digging deep underground, diving to the deepest trenches of the ocean and observing galaxies beyond our own, scientists have overlooked some things from our surroundings that are to this day waiting for an answer. And if you want to drive a scientist crazy, you just have to ask him/her a seemingly simple question. At this point our beloved scientists will either try to switch the topic, or will start a long and philosophic monologue trying to explain as elaborately as possible the fact that they have no idea.

Now, I bet that most of you, while reading this, are rubbing their hands in a mischievous fashion, thinking about learning as much of those mysteries as possible and then messing around with their friends that graduated as engineers or scientists. Well look no further, as we have done the dirty work for you and compiled 15 mysteries from our everyday live, that no scientists on this planet can explain to this day. All you have to do is read on.

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1. How and why do cats purr?

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Many of us are familiar with that moment, when a cat is making itself comfortable in your lap, it looks at you starts to close it eyes, and even before you hear it you start to feel the purring. It seems to be the cat’s sign of affection to you. Or rather not?

Believe it or not, that simple purring is a tremendous mystery for modern science. Not only that scientist have not proven the exact mechanism behind a cat’s purring, they actually have no idea why do cats purr at all. Some smart guys those scientists are, huh?

The fact is that all cats purr, and I really mean ALL. Ranging from your favorite little whisker bearer that wakes you up in the middle of the night meowing at God knows  what, to the lions and tigers in their natural habitats. They all do purr. So who is petting those tigers in the wild to make them purr? The answer is – nobody. Cats purr not only when you pet them, they don’t even purr only when they feel comfortable. They have been observed to purr when giving birth, in pain or simply being stressed out. So what does the purr do? Nobody knows. Some have proposed that the frequency of the purr is helping their regeneration, especially for bones. But that has yet to be proven with some serious science. However that does not stop certain people to produce strange contraptions that utilize the same frequency as a cat’s purr and sell them with the promise of helping people heal their injuries faster.

Well it seems kind of natural that we don’t know why cats purr. You can’t just ask “Heya kitty, why on earth are you purring”. But strange enough scientists have no clue as to how exactly cats manage to pull out that vibrating sounds from their bodies. Weird, huh? I mean those guys can find a billion year old bone from an animal and deduct that it was a kind of a blow horn organ, and that animal sounded like a muffled trumpet, and they even dare to play some sounds that they believe match the sound of that animal…. But they can’t tell you how a cat purrs.

Some have tried the simplest explanation – cats pass air through their vocal chords, and the purring sound comes to live. But no study has even proven this, and yes there have been studies, quite a few actually.

Having no scientific explanation, the most adequate theory to this day is that cats use their purring to put a spell on us, that makes us feed and pet them unconditionally, turning us into their slaves. And until science gives us a better explanation, backed by some formidably looking data, I am sticking to this explanation.

2. General anesthesia and how it works

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Chances are that many of you, at a certain point in their lives, have been on the operating table dressed in pajamas, nervously looking around keeping your eyesight away from that super bright monstrosity of a light pointed towards you. Then one of the masked people with rubber gloves comes to you and starts asking you about when was the last time you ate or drank water, any allergies that you are ware of etc. Then he calmly explain that he will inject some strong medications in you, and at about this point your memories stop. Next thing you know, you are lying in your bed feeling the worst hangover ever imaginable. Couple of days later you go home, the problem is gone and you are thinking “Those guys certainly know their stuff”. Well no!

The anesthesiologist (that is the guy who was so curious as to know when you last ate) actually has no idea how the stuff he injects you with works. And if that isn’t creepy enough, some scientists have proven, that this stuff actually puts you in a state of coma, effectively shutting down all cognitive functions of your brain, while keeping the basic life support functions active. No one really knows how this happens. But hey it works, right?

Want to hear something even creepier? It is reported that a small percentage of people (about 1 in every 10 000) have woken up while under general anesthesia, and while unable to move they do hear what is happening around them and feel what is being done to them. Unable to open they eyes or say something, an outright horror movie scenario.

3. Tomatoes have more genes than us

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You read that right! You the pinnacle of creation, a member of the race that has mastered the elements and escaped Earth’s gravity. You my friend have around 20 000 and 30 000 genes in your genome, that scientists claim to have cracked. And a tomato? Well a tomato has about 31 760 genes!

Then how come tomatoes are not building space rockets and competing with us? It turns out that despite declaring the human genome as cracked, scientist have little to no idea what most of those 30 000 genes do. Also they have absolutely no idea what those extra 1760 genes do in a tomato. To make them look less inadequate, scientists came up with the name “The C-value paradox” (like that explains something) and put that mystery aside.

4. Cows are always facing either north or south while eating

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Now this is a modern mystery. It has been noticed just recently after the introduction of Google Earth. People looking at meadows with cows have noticed that all cows are oriented in the north/south direction while eating or sleeping. And this has been observed on all continents and all breeds of cows.

One of the first explanations that comes to mind, is that just like some birds cows have a natural compass in them. What is the purpose of that compass? Well no one is sure, but one things we know for sure, and that is the compass is surely not there to aid them on their flight south.

Others say it is a coordinate defense measure, however no one can quite explain as to how this helps cows increase their chances against predators.

Another more simplistic explanation is, that cows are just facing away from the sun, after all no one likes the sun glare in their eyes.

5. Why are left handed people so few?

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Most of us know at least one left handed person and we always find it interesting when we see them write or do some other task that is typically done with the right hand. We even feel sorry for them sometimes for living in a world built for right handed people.

So why are they left handed in the first place? As you may of guessed by now, no one even our favorite scientists have any idea. There is a vague clue to genes, but as we already mentioned, scientist do not have a complete understanding of genes and have no way of proving that. And what is most interesting is that all statistics ever made point to a constant rate of about 10% of the population being left handed, and has not changed.

While trying to find an answer to this mystery scientists have stumbled onto another mystery, and that is “why do humans have a dominant hand and a dominant foot to begin with”.

And while science has yet to provide the answer, the world is still being forged for right handed people, and many left handed kids are being forced to use their right hands instead.

6. Why is the sun’s atmosphere hotter than it’s surface?

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Yet another modern mystery that has been uncovered recently. With their modern toys scientists have measured the temperature of the sun’s surface and it stands at about 6 000 degrees Celsius. That is hot enough to incinerate or melt anything you could think of instantly (Yes the Terminator too, he won’t even have time to do that iconic thumbs up). So thousands of degrees sound hot, but millions of degrees sound even hotter. And that is the temperature measured in the sun’s atmosphere.

So how is this even possible, the heat is coming from the sun, and yet it is cooler than its surroundings? Scientists have mumbled something about “greenhouse gasses” and “carbon dioxide pressure”, but those are just guesses.

The sun is keeping this mystery in the dark and is up to us to shine some light over it someday.

7. The placebo effect

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One of the oldest mysteries around. This is the name we gave to the strange phenomenon of our bodies positive reaction to fake medicine. The fact is that when you ingest a headache pill usually it is not the pill that stops the headache, and you would’ve gotten the same result from a sugar lump.

Scientists have a theory that when we take the medicine, our brain assumes that things are going to get better and it is no longer necessary to ring any bells and whistles. However the placebo effect had been observed in cases where hearth conditions had improved and asthma related problems have faded, and even limb injuries have improved after a fake surgery, which contradicts this theory.

As it looks like, our minds are pretty naive and can easily be tricked. In some researches the subjects were being told that a cream would be applied to them that hurts, and while a completely normal ointment is being applied the pain receptors in their brains start firing like that thing really hurts.
This and many other cases have become the basis for the belief that the human mind has the ability to heal and regenerate the body, and do all kinds of other wonders. While this is also unproven, it doesn’t stop me to mentally focus everyday on losing my belly and increasing the size of some of my body parts.

8. What is dark matter?

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Aside from the obvious fact that it is pretty dark, we have no clue what dark matter is. Scientists came to the conclusion that dark matter exist, because without it, nothing in the universe that we observe will be this way. So they have stated that about 27% of all the matter in the universe is dark matter. Ask them what dark matter is, and you will get a hour long explanation which in short mean “we don’t know”.

It is called dark matter, because it doesn’t emit or reflect any light, and we still have no way of detecting or observing it. Some have speculated that dark matter is made up of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (yep, that’s right – WIMP) which theoretically are about a hundred times bigger than a proton. But until we get our hands on that stuff we can’t be certain of anything.

Actually scientists are not sure if dark matter exists at all. They just came up with that name to label something that is needed to make their equations work in representing the observable models in the universe.

9. Why do we have different blood types?

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Blood transfusion is a modern day miracle, and you can’t help but wonder why haven’t we thought of that before. The fact is that people have attempted blood transfusion even in ancient times, but they couldn’t figure out why it sometimes worked and sometimes was complete disaster.

It was only after we discovered the blood types, that we found a way for safe blood transfusion. But that also brought another question – “why do we have different blood types”? I bet you won’t be surprised if I told you that no one knows.

We learned quite a lot about the different blood types. We know that certain types are more susceptible to some infections and diseases than others. We also learned how the parent’s blood types determine the offspring’s type. Learning all this useful stuff made us ignore the reason for the existence of the blood types.

10. Why do we yawn?

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One thing that is for sure is, that if you yawned while reading this article it is definitely not a sign of boredom. I mean there is no chance that someone could get bored from this great article!

Yawning as an involuntary action observed in many mammals. It has puzzled people for centuries. Perhaps the most intriguing observation is that is seems to be contagious. You can make another person or even animal yawn by simply yawning yourself in front of them. Now isn’t that neat?

But why do we do it? One of the earliest attempts to provide an explanation stated that this is the body’s way to increase the oxygen levels in the blood when it needs to. Modern day research however has concluded that a yawn actually lowers the oxygen levels. Another shot at this claimed that it is a way for the body to get rid of excess heat in the brain. Sadly enough, statistics show that the rate of occurrence is lower at warmer temperatures.

To this day we can do nothing to explain this mystery. Nothing but to yawn. And if you do yawn, just remember, that this is not due to this article being boring. That can not be proven just like all the other theories.

11. How do magnets work?

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That is a mystery? Really? I mean we know how they work, you get them near to metal things and they attract them. We have even seen graphics  explaining magnetic fields and their connection to electricity. And we have even stated the electro-magnetic force as one of the four primary forces in our universe! So where’s the mystery?

OK, so the truth is we know quite a lot about magnets and how they work. Actually this article is being written and red on machines that were designed with some very deep understanding on the magnet’s workings. But one little things has eluded scientific explanation. What is that you ask? Well it is the way that magnetic poles are formed.

So you have a magnet, it has a positive and a negative pole, fair enough. One would guess that by splitting the magnet in half, a result will be one positive and one negative piece. Wrong guess. The result of this would be two magnets each of which with its own positive and negative poles. Splitting those into more pieces, the result remains the same. Each consecutive smaller piece immediately gets a positive and a negative pole.

It is worth mentioning that while our beloved scientists have no explanation for this, they have managed to create in their labs some unique magnets that are exclusively positive or negative. We’ll take that as a compensation for not being able to explain how regular magnets work.

12. What is déjà vu?

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Déjà vu in French means “previously seen”. A lot have had this strange sensation of perceiving current events as such that have already happened and have been experienced.

Some people believe, that it is a proof that we have lived past lives. Others believe that these are events that people have foreseen in their dreams or other altered states of consciousness. But these are all explanations suitable for the average Buddhist gatherings and are far away from being provable with science. So what do scientists say? Well by now I am sure you know what they say.

They have carried out numerous studies on this matter with no definitive answers. The closest guess they have has somethings to do with corrupted memories, just like a corrupted file on your hard drive. The theory is that a certain memory in the brain was not recorded properly and some information is lost. At some point a person is experiencing something that has similarities with that corrupted memory. So the brains digs up that old memory to compare it to this new experience, and while reading it, it reaches that corrupted part and since it can not recollect any data from that portion it starts filling it with the new experience. And that is how you get the feeling that you have experienced this before, at least in theory.

The fact that the brain really tends to fill gaps with familiar things while processing visual data and dreaming (we’ll get to that later on). And this has been designed into some of our attempts into creating artificial intelligence. Google’s Deep Dream is doing just that, it is kind of fun to watch how a computer algorithm sees puppies in certain groups of pixels. However we can not be sure if the déjà vu is caused by this feature in our brain. Science has yet to provide an explanation backed with proof for this phenomenon. Wait… that is a déjà vu!

13. The jelly rain

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Now that is one mystery that a lot of you may never heard of. It is an event that happened way back in 1994 in Oakville, Washington in the heart of the USA. So what happened that day is rain, but not just any ordinary rain, it was raining jelly.

It was a bizarre event that sprouted quite a few theories. One of them was that such jelly rains occur after a meteor showers, so the local people quickly named it “star jelly”. But I think I prefer the name that Germans gave it, which is “Star Snot”.

As funny as it sounds it is a full blown mystery, finding the answers to which has proven rather difficult. The substance was reported to disintegrate upon a touching, and evaporated quickly.
Scientist did manage to obtain some and study it. They found two well known types of bacteria within the goo, one of which is typically found in the human digestive system. Instead of providing answers they raised even more questions.

Some weird explanations followed, like exploding spacemen and remains of frogs that burst in mid-air… But within 24 hours a mass flu broke out among the population of the town. There is no proof for a link between these two events, but it just seems natural that the epidemic is due to the jelly rain. Too bad that back in those days the chem trail theory was not around… I mean you can perfectly explain this with a plane that is sprinkling us with nasty stuff from the sky, but somehow the spray nozzles malfunctioned and sprayed large snots instead of fine mist. Hmm, I think I came up with a pretty viable theory for this mystery.

14. Why do we dream?

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Because we sleep? No that is not a good answer. Even worse, you may ask “then why do we sleep”? Well don’t because it is also a mystery, and we are already at number one in our list, and there is no more room for additional mysteries, period!

The father of modern day Psychology – Sigmund Freud and many of his followers believe, that dreams are the way for our deepest (and usually suppressed) desires to be experienced. It is a good explanation for nice dreams but what about nightmares?

A more scientific theory is that dreams are the brains way of arrange its memories correctly. Think of it like a desk. During the night you have opened several folders and taken out some of their contents, written a few notes, put a few stick-it papers with phone numbers and appointments on the monitor. So your work time ends, you get out of the office and your nice assistant starts to put everything back together, create new folders for the new information, and then neatly arrange everything in the file cabinet for future use. Scientists do think that in this stage some errors may occur (due to not enough sleep or some other causes), the same errors we spoke about that might be causing the  déjà vu. But just as every other theory in this list, it is unproven.

Now hippies, gurus and generally all spiritual people, like the idea that during dreaming our astral projection is roaming though countless galaxies, universes and dimensions. It seems my astral projection doesn’t like getting too far away, because all my dreams usually take place on this planet.

15. Two-headed Blue Sharks


Lately more and more two-headed sharks started to emerge and nobody can’t really explain why is this happening.

Daily Mail reported that it all stated in 2008 when an Australian fisherman reported caught a two-headed blue shark embryo. Lately they are starting to emerge everywhere in the world.

In 2013 Florida fishermen caught a Bull shark with a two-headed fetus. Recently a Spanish fishermen caught a catshark with a two-headed fetus.

Scientists concluded that most likely the two-headed sharks don’t live too long and this is the reason nobody had seen one so far. The most weird part is that really nobody can explain why and how is this mutation happening.

16. Russia found Alien Spaceship wrecked in the ice

Russia have been putting a lot of effort lately on proving that Aliens actually do exist. Not so long ago they claimed to find a wrecked Alien Spaceship and leaked the photos online. Russian government claimed that they have been focusing on looking for Aliens underneath instead in outer space.

Nobody really knows what if that is spaceship on the photo or not. The photo looks pretty real and scientists can’t really explain it.

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Patrick Bennet
I love reading and writing. I am a full time student and I study Philosophy in Oxford.


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