We tend to dismiss out ancestors’ believes as unfounded. And sure, most of them were. The Earth is not the center of the universe, drawing blood won’t help you cure cholera, sacrificing goats won’t make you rich and Santa Klaus doesn’t sneak into your house via your chimney. But there are still some ideas put forth by the people who lived thousands of years before us that we made into 5 old beliefs that turned out somewhat true. Whether it’s a pure coincidence or something more, we don’t know. Maybe our ancestors acted on a hunch or maybe some of them where smarter than we are now willing to admit.
5. Noah’s Ark
Here’s a recap if you skipped that chapter of the Bible. When God got so fed up with corruption on Earth, he thought a reboot was in order. So he sent a flood to wipe all evil from the surface of the Earth. The curious thing about this myth is that is recurrent: the ancient Greeks have their own version of a flood killing every living thing, and so did Babylonians. Which means there must be a grain of truth in the story that continues with Noah building a big boat and saving two animals from every species. And there is. We actually witness this in wild life, when a natural disaster only leaves a few survivors from a species with the difficult task of rebuilding their numbers. In biologists’ words, this is a bottleneck. Cheetahs went through something similar: their numbers were drastically reduced not so long ago and the remaining ones are now basically close relatives.
4. The Tower of Babel and the Birth of Languages
As a sequel to the above mentioned myth, I mean story, the few lucky flood survivors, all brothers, sisters and cousins, decided to build a huge tower and take a peek into heavens. God didn’t particularly like this, so, as a punishment, he made all the people start talking in different languages. Unable to go on building their stairways to heaven, they grumpily scattered all over the world. Now let’s take a look at science, more specifically at the Theory of Monogenesis. According to this theory, all the languages evolved from a single one, at the same time. Alfred Trombetti, an Italian linguist, claimed that a single language used by a single group of humans in a single region, spread to the entire world and each race went ahead and developed the thousand languages we have nowadays.
3. The Creation of the Universe
There are as many creation myths as there are civilizations. While the Egyptians told stories about a lotus flower that gave birth to Khepri, the goddess who created the Earth, the Chinese told their kids about a cosmic egg appearing in chaos, from which P’an-Ku emerged to create the universe. No matter what creation myth we’re looking at, they all have one common factor: they talk about chaos, nothingness, an apparition and boom! the universe was created. Come to think of it, this sounds a bit like something from modern days. Oh, right, the Big Bang theory. Which goes like this: in the beginning there was nothing, then an atom appeared which erupted, creating the universe.
2. Stars are eaten by the Sun
Throughout time, each culture assigned a personality to the Sun and created myths around it. The Native Americans came up with an original one. Their explanation for stars disappearing during day time was that they were running away from the Sun, who wanted to eat them. As a result, the Sun was so shiny and hot because of all the stars he was digesting. A modern theory claims that in the beginning, the universe was formed from huge stars consisting of hydrogen and helium. When they aged and exploded, metal, which was non existent up until that point, started spreading throughout the universe, while the remains were swallowed by new stars. Which means our Sun has old remains from stars that exploded, just like the Native Americans once thought.
1. Adam and Eve
The Old Testament is not the only one to insist that all humanity was born from a primordial couple. There’s one such couple for every culture out there, some more sillier than others. For example the Navajo believed the first couple was formed from ears of corn. Can it actually be true that humanity comes from one woman and one man? Scientists have found that every single person in the world shares certain genes that can only be inherited from your mother. Which further led them to believe there actually was an Eve who lived 200,000 years ago. The same scientists also identified Adam, who lived 60,000 years ago and who managed to pass his DNA to all his male descendants.