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10 Things We’ve Discovered Way More Recently Than You Think

Madeline Hiltz
(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Time is truly a bizarre concept. Here, we’ve found 10 facts that completely altered our sense of time and reality, proving that history really isn’t that far away!

1. We figured out why the ocean is salty in 1979

Ocean Wave

(Photo Credit: Schäfer/ Pixabay)

Researchers didn’t know why the ocean was salty until 1979. Scientists initially thought that it was rivers bringing salt and other debris into the oceans to make them salty. In 1977, researchers first observed hydrothermal vents that eject chemicals deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

It was 1979 when high-temperature hydrothermal vents were discovered. These are also known as “black smokers” because they eject what looks like black smoke. They deposit microcrystals of minerals into the sea.

2. The first college football game was played four years after the end of the Civil War

19th century football match

Football match between Yale and Princeton, late 19th Century. (Photo Credit: Stock Montage/ Getty Images)

The first American college football game ever played took place on November 6, 1869, between New Jersey (now Princeton University) and Rutgers College. The game took place in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Rutgers beat New Jersey six to four.

To put this into perspective, the Civil War ended in April, 1865. Just over four years after the Civil War, men were already back to fighting each other – on the football field.

3. The Heimlich maneuver wasn’t invented until 1974

Heimlich Maneuver

Heimlich Maneuver demonstrations. (Photo Credit: The Washington Post/ Getty Images)

People have been choking on things for thousands of years, so why is it that the Heimlich maneuver was only invented fairly recently, in 1974? In fact, in 1972, the New York Times reported that more than 3,000 people in the United States had choked to death that year. It was common to just hit the choking person on the back in hopes of dislodging the item stuck in their throat.

Dr. Henry J. Heimlich was inspired to find a better way to help people who were choking. In June 1974, he published his findings in a medical journal. The method he announced in this paper is now universally known as the “Heimlich maneuver.” In fact, the invention of the Heimlich maneuver was so recent that Dr. Heimlich was still alive until 2016.

4. George Washington died 25 years before the first dinosaur fossils was found

George Washigton

Portrait of George Washington. (Photo Credit: Smith Collection/ Gado/ Getty Images)

On December 14, 1799, the first US president George Washington died. Interestingly, Washington died 25 years before the first dinosaur (the Megalosaurus) was scientifically named in 1824 by William Buckland.

People had been finding dinosaur fossils for thousands of years, but no one really knew what they were. Originally, people thought dinosaur bones came from a species of gigantic humans or large reptiles. It wasn’t until 1824 that the first dinosaur was scientifically described, meaning that George Washington died without knowing about them.

5. We didn’t know a meteor killed the dinosaurs until 1991

Asteroid killing the dinosaurs

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Speaking of dinosaurs, we didn’t discover that a meteor killed the dinosaurs until 1991. In other words, there was 167 year gap between officially naming the first dinosaurs and finding out how dinosaurs became extinct.

In 1991, scientists discovered tiny glass particles in Haiti that provided the necessary evidence proving that an asteroid had struck the earth and killed the dinosaurs. Prior to this discovery, scientists believed that volcanic activity and climate changes were to blame for the dinosaurs’ disappearance. To put this discovery in perspective, we were watching Home Alone before we knew why dinosaurs had perished.

6. Pablo Picasso was alive more recently than Jimi Hendrix

Pablo Picasso and Jimi Hendrix

Pablo Picasso (left) and Jimi Hendrix (right). (Photo Credit: Hulton Deutsch/ Getty Images and David Redfern/ Getty Images)

Pablo Picasso, one of the most important art figures of the twentieth century, was alive more recently than rock and roll legend Jimi Hendrix. Picasso was born in 1881 and passed away in 1973, while Hendrix was born in 1942 and passed away in 1970.

7. We only learned how anesthesia worked in 2020

Anesthesia stock

(Photo Credit: Stefan_Schranz/ Pixabay)

Despite putting people under general anesthesia for 170 years, scientists only learned out how anesthesia really works in 2020. In fact, scientists put the first patient went under general anesthesia in 1846, without truly knowing how the drug worked.

It wasn’t until 2020 that scientists really understood the way general anesthesia worked, meaning for 170 years people were going under general anesthesia with doctors and scientists hoping everything worked for the best.

8. Only learned that babies could feel pain in 1987

Crying baby

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

For decades, people believed that small babies were such primitive organisms that they were oblivious to, or didn’t feel any pain. As a result, doctors who would have operated on these little babies would have given them little to no anesthesia.

In 1987, the American Academy of Pediatrics formally declared that it was unethical to operate on newborns without anesthetics. Prior to this declaration, babies would often only receive muscle relaxants prior to surgery.

9. The last widow of a Civil War veteran died in 2020

Off to war depiction

Cartoon depicting a Union soldier saying goodbye to his family during the Civil War. (Photo Credit: Print Collector/ Getty Images)

The last widow of a Civil War veteran passed away in 2020. Helen Viola Jackson, who died on December 16 2020 at age 101, was married to Union Army veteran James Bolin.

Seventeen-year-old Helen Viola Jackson married her 93-year-old neighbor James Bolin in September 1936. The marriage was not necessarily a love match, but Bolin wanted to ensure Jackson was taken care of. After Bolin died in 1939, Jackson kept the marriage a secret.

When Helen Viola Jackson passed away in 2020, the Civil War had been over for 155 years.

10. Wheeled luggage was invented in 1970

Wheeled luggage

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Wheeled luggage has made life easier for travelers everywhere, and yet this seemingly simple gadget wasn’t invented until 1970. In 1970, Bernard Sadow was traveling in Puerto Rico with his family and was tired of carrying around two heavy suitcases. He saw a porter use a wheeled luggage rack to easily move other luggage, which gave Sadow an idea. When he got back home, he attached wheels to his suitcases and wheeled luggage was invented.

More from us: Ten Bizarre Historical Events That Really Happened

To put this into perspective, when the first astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, they would have had to carry all their luggage onto their rocket ship.