6 Famous Mysteries That Have Already Been Solved (Slideshow)


Some things in life, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, will be perceived as unsolved mysteries or unexplainable phenomenon. From missing royalty to contagious bodily habits, click through for some of the world’s most enduring mysteries that have actually been solved. On the last page, take a look at two more famous mysteries that may very well have been solved!

See Also: Is Your Cat Making You Crazy?


1. What Happened to Atlantis?

Well, nothing did. That’s because it almost certainly never existed in the first place. For one thing, science doesn’t support it — due to plate tectonics, it’s geologically impossible for an entire continent to have disappeared so recently in the past. Still skeptical? Here’s another important tidbit — the existence of Atlantis wasn’t even taken seriously in antiquity. It wasn’t until recently that the “lost continent” achieved its “unsolved mystery” status!

Image Credit: Public Domain

2. Where do Tigers Get Their Stripes?

In the 1950′s, famed mathematician, codebreaker and father of computer scienceAlan Turing first posited that tiger’s get their stripes from the interactions between pair of chemicals known as morphogens. One chemical triggers cell activity and the other hinders it, thus creating those repeating patterns we know all too well.

Sixty years after he put forth this theory, Turing was proven right. A study published on the journal Nature Genetics‘ website in February 2012 provides the perfect experimental evidence 60 years after Turing first proposed the theory.

3. Why Are Nails on a Chalkboard so Annoying?

Why are certain sounds so universally hated? For that, we turn to Dr. Michael Oehler of the University of Media and Communication in Cologne, Germany. His research has found that the frequency range between 2,000 and 4,000 hertz, where the human ear is most sensitive, is where many sounds perceived as unpleasant fall.And — you guessed it! — nails on a chalkboard falls into that range.

Related: 6 Sounds Humans Love Most

4. Did Anastasia Escape Alive?

What happened to Anastasia? Ever since the murder of Russia’s imperial family by Bolshevik secret police in 1918, rumors have swirled that the Grand Duchess escaped alive and made a new life for herself. Over the course of the 20th century, several women claimed to be the missing Anastasia. One such impostor, Anna Anderson, even convinced surviving members of the Russian royal family of her “true” identity! After a decades-long court battle and considerable notoriety, Anderson’s DNA was tested a few years after she died. She was not genetically related to the Russian Imperial Family.

What happened to the real Anastasia? The mass grave containing the bodies of her family members and servants was excavated in 1991, with one daughter and the family’s only son not present.But in 2008, scientists announced that the missing bodies were found at another grave site, making all children accounted for. Anastasia, then, perished alongside her family in 1918.

Image Credit:Romanov Collection, General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

5. Why Does Hair Turn Gray?

Why do we gray as we age? Scientists have found that an ingredient familiar to the bottle blonds of the world is the culprit! The body naturally produces hydrogen peroxide that builds up over time and eventually blocks pigments.

Related: Real Beauty: In Celebration of Gray Hair

6. Why is Yawning Contagious?

Experts believe that contagious yawning might eventually help in the diagnosis of developmental disorders. How’s that? Well, yawning when other yawn is thought to be, “a sign of empathy and social bonding.” Though all vertebrates yawn, only humans and chimps are susceptible to contagious yawning. Another interesting piece of evidence –children with autism are half as likely as their peers to contagiously yawn.

2 Mysteries That May Have Been Solved

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

In 2010, British scientists concluded that, “a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg, according to the paper Wednesday. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken.” Celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking, however, isn’t so sure.

What happened to Amelia Earhart?

Researchers found bone fragments, a mirror from a woman’s compact and a zipper from a flight jacket on a deserted South Pacific island in 2007. All of these items were from the 1930s and made in the United States. They also found the remains of a campsite. These discoveries have led researchers to believe that Earhart and her flight partner lived as castaways before ultimately perishing. When the bone fragments were tested, however, the results were inconclusive.

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Lady Kaira
None None3 years ago


g             d c.
g d c5 years ago


some mysteries should stay mysteries...

Samantha Hodder
Samantha Hodder5 years ago


Tara B.
Tara B5 years ago

# 6 states that "only humans and chimps are susceptible to contagious yawning" which is actually incorrect.

Dogs yawn in response to another dog, or a human, yawning. They have even been found to be more reliable in the response than humans are.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago


Sandi C.
Sandi C5 years ago


B. L.
B. L5 years ago

The chicken/egg question is easily solved if you believe in the bible. God created chickens, not eggs!

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

Thank you for the answers to these unsolved mysteries!! Pretty interesting!!

Giovanna M.
Giovanna M6 years ago

IMHO, the chicken/egg mystery will largely depend on whether you are thinking on a typical bird egg, or in any kind of egss. If one is not limitimg him/herself to your standard bird egg, then just by looking at the phylogenetics it is clear that the egg came first.

I haven't read the British scientist's conclusions, but it really seems a bit pointless if their result is not the aftermath of a deeper investigation focusing in something else. I spent 8 years working with eggs for my doctorate, and there are really issues more relevant and practical, both for humans and the species whose eggs you're studying, than this.

Joan E.
Joan Ellis6 years ago

I still think the egg came first, otherwise where did the chicken come from?