Tuesday, August 20

The Debunker: Do Bananas Grow On Trees?

by Ken Jennings

August 27, 1912 saw the first appearance of a new fictional hero: Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. “A crackerjack!” enthused the magazine. “Zowie! but things happen!” In honor of the ape-man’s 101st birthday this month, Jeopardy! know-it-all Ken Jennings swings in on his vine to debunk four longstanding misconceptions about the jungles of the world. Ungawa!

Jungle Myth #3: Bananas Grow on Trees.

What do bananas have in common with money? (Besides the fact that I have huge piles of them in a bowl on my kitchen counter, I mean.) Contrary to popular belief, and probably a bunch of Harry Belafonte songs, bananas don’t grow on trees.

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Tuesday, August 13

The Debunker: Is the Lion the King of the Jungle?

by Ken Jennings

August 27, 1912 saw the first appearance of a new fictional hero: Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. “A crackerjack!” enthused the then-current issue of All-Story Magazine. “Zowie! but things happen!” In honor of the ape-man’s 101st birthday this month, Jeopardy! know-it-all Ken Jennings swings in on his vine to debunk four longstanding misconceptions about the jungles of the world. Ungawa!

Jungle Myth #2: The Lion is the King of the Jungle.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight, a wise man once said. Since the 19th century, breathless European prose has referred to Africa’s mighty lion as the “king of the jungle.” There’s only one problem with this: as a moment’s thought will reveal, lions don’t live in the jungle! They hunt on savanna, the open grasslands of central Africa. Occasional trees, yes, but jungle, no. By definition, savanna has no tree canopy.

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Tuesday, August 06

The Debunker: Will Piranhas Strip Off Your Flesh?

by Ken Jennings

“I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.” On August 27, 1912, these words in the new issue of All-Story Magazine heralded the first appearance of a new fictional hero: Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. “A crackerjack!” enthused the magazine. “It is the most exciting story we have seen in a blue moon… Zowie! but things happen!” A century later, Tarzan is still going strong. In honor of the ape-man’s 101st birthday this month, we’ve asked Jeopardy! know-it-all Ken Jennings to swing in on his vine and debunk four longstanding misconceptions about the jungles of the world. Ungawa!

Jungle Myth #1: Piranhas Will Strip Your Flesh from Your Bones!

Most people probably know exactly one thing about the small South American fish called piranhas: they are a swarm of razor-toothed juggernauts that will turn the unwary river traveler into a bleached cartoon skeleton within seconds! As a result of the media hype, piranha attack is now a horror and action movie staple. And after a century of panicky species misidentifications, the fish is now banned in over twenty-five U.S. states.

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