In Focus

Published on December 16th, 2015 | by Kristina Harrison


12 Days of Science

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a well-known Christmas carol which is usually used in rhyme or chant form, without music. It was initially published in England in 1780 and with several versions of the rhyme, the “Five gold rings” verse has been said to have only been introduced in the 1909 version.
As there are now less than 12 days until Christmas we thought we would bring you an alternative take of this festive Christmas carol to relish in some science-related facts!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, science gave to me,

12 days of growing

The Virginia (North American) opossum gives birth to an average litter of 8-9 infants just 12 days after fertilisation.

11 metre wing span

The largest flying animal was the pterosaur, which lived 70 million years ago. The wing span of this reptile was 11-11.9 metres and it weighed up to 110kg.

10 times more bugs

There are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Don’t worry though, most of these are helpful bacteria that we need to survive.

9 years of tweeting

In July 2006, social networking site Twitter was launched. It now has more than 500 million users – 302 million of which are considered “active”.

8 times more atoms

There are 8 times more atoms in a teaspoon of water (about 2×1023 water molecules with each comprising of 3 atoms) than there are teaspoons of water in the Atlantic ocean.

7 miles shorter

The erosion at Niagara Falls (USA) have resulted in the falls receding about 7 miles over the last 10,000 years.

6 times hotter

A bolt of lightning is about 30,000°C – almost six times hotter than the sun.

5 times around

The average person walks around 7,500 steps a day and if you live to about 80 years old, you will have walked the entire way around the world 5 times.

4 times faster

Sound travels about 4 times faster in water than it does in air.

3 seconds speeding

Cheetah’s can accelerate from 0 to 70km/hour in just 3 seconds.

2 weeks of living

Regular house flies have an average lifespan of 2 weeks.

And hummingbirds can’t walk.

About the Author

Kristina Harrison is a postdoc at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, investigating the health benefits of dietary components.

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