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25 Frustrating Mysteries That Were Eventually Solved


From sailing stones to underwater noises these are 25 frustrating mysteries that were eventually solved.

25. Finding Richard III

The last English King to die in battle was finally found buried under a Leicester car park in what was one of the most astonishing archeological discoveries of the last few decades.

24. The source of the Nile River

It may seem obvious but even answers like Lake Victoria aren’t so straight forward. It took modern technology to put the issue to rest (and yes, this was a mystery for quite some time).

23. Why the “atmosphere” of the sun is hotter than the surface of the sun

That answer is extremely scientific but in 2009 it was laid to rest by a team of EU scientists. Basically it has to do with waves of magnetic plasma.

22. Finding the Titanic

Found in 1985 over 70 years after it sank, the discovery was actually somewhat of a stroke of luck.

21. Loch Ness monster

The photographer who took the original picture of the Loch Ness monster recently admitted that it was a hoax.

20. Troy

For a long time the world believed Troy to be a mythical city and the Trojan War to be little more than legend. At least until Heinrich Schliemann actually discovered the remains of the city.

19. The fairy circles of the Namib Desert

For years people thought it was everything from radioactive soil to aliens. A recent study, however, discovered the culprits…termites.

18. The identity of Deep Throat

For a long time people speculated over the identity of the secret informant behind the Watergate Scandal. Recently it was revealed to be former FBI associate director Mark Felt.

17. Egyptian hieroglyphs

With the discovery of the Rosetta Stone people finally had the key to understanding modern Egyptian hieroglyphs.

16. The fate of Martin Bormann

The highest ranking Nazi official that wasn’t accounted for after World War II was thought to have gone into hiding somewhere in South America and sightings had been reported for years. In 1999, however, his body was found in an unmarked grave near the bunker where Hitler committed suicide.

15. Fish farts

In the 80s the Swedish navy discovered underwater sounds that many suspected to be Russian submarines. Turns out they were nothing more than fish farts. The Swedes subsequently won an Ig Nobel prize.

14. Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Another Troy-esque type discovery, the tomb of Tutankhamen was the stuff of legend until its discovery in 1922.

13. The Bloop

When the NOAA discovered a strange sound in the South Pacific in 1997 scientists at first were unsure of its origin and many thought it to be a very loud animal. Most have now agreed, however, that it was the result of an ice quake.

12. Why corals pulsate

For a long time scientists couldn’t figure out why corals keep pulsating. The movement didn’t seem to have any inherent advantages. Recently, however, they discovered that the movement keeps oxygen levels low in the surrounding water which attracts the algae that the corals feed on.

11. The fungus that caused the Irish potato famine

For a long time scientist couldn’t figure out what strain of fungus led to such devastation in Ireland nearly 200 years ago. They recently discovered the strain but it has been long extinct.

10. The direction in which the core of the Earth spins

For many years scientists couldn’t figure out how the Earth’s solid inner core spins one way and the liquid outer core spins the other. Scientists at Leeds University recently found that the answer lies in a simple “equal and opposite” reaction based around Earth’s magnetic fields.

9. Whether or not women blush in the dark

This may sound really dumb, but even Charles Darwin jumped on board with this one. If its dark you can’t tell if she’s blushing and as soon as you turn on the lights, its no longer dark. Fortunately, German researchers finally used heat sensitive cameras to put the issue to rest.

8. Germ theory

The realization that some sicknesses were formed by germs changed medicine for good.

7. How many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop

According to a recent experiment by a youtuber from Venezuela the answer is about 700. Ok, back to being serious…

6. The Antikythera mechanism

The fact that this ancient Greek “computer” was used for navigation wasn’t a mystery for too long (given that it was found in a ship wreck), but the fact that nothing of comparable complexity was constructed until 1000 years later is pretty crazy.

5. Stomach Ulcers

For years Big Pharma made a lot of money off selling people anti-stress drugs to cure their ulcers. At least until an Australian scientist proved they were quite often caused by bacteria and were easily curable.

4. Chaocipher

Until the algorithm was recently released no one could decode the cipher that author J.F Byrne had published in his autobiography.

3. The Roanoke Colony

Nicknamed the lost colony when all the settlers in this North Carolina settlement suddenly disappeared, recent genetic advances have all but confirmed the idea that the population abandoned the settlement and was assimilated into local indian tribes.

2. Black bodies being unexplainable by classical physics

Classical physics predicts that an ideal black body in thermal equilibrium will emit an infinite amount of energy. This is not consistent with what actually happens in the real world. Enter quantum mechanics.

1. Sailing Stones

In case you’re not familiar, there are rocks in various deserts around the world that seems to “sail” or move by themselves. After several experiments it has for the most part been determined that a combination of ice on the desert surface combined with wind make the effect possible.