(ORDO NEWS) — We live in the era of information technology, so against the backdrop of the achievements of modern science, it is easy to forget what a giant leap humanity has made over the past few centuries.
In fact, many of the discoveries that we now take for granted were made very recently – at least in a historical context. We have collected ten eloquent examples.
1- Scientists agreed on tectonic plates only in the 1960s
Continents move across the surface of the planet. Very slowly, yes, but now we have enough information to accept this phenomenon as a fact.
When tectonic plates collide, mountains and earthquakes are created. When they move away from each other, we get land masses, obviously similar to mosaic pieces.
But this idea did not look convincing in the eyes of scientists until the 1960s, when the collected scientific data finally allowed to confirm the theory.
2- The concept of vitamins did not exist until the beginning of the 20th century
As far back as the 18th century, European sailors realized that it was necessary to take a supply of citrus fruits on a long voyage, since fruits helped to avoid scurvy.
Despite this, the very concept of vitamins took shape only a few centuries later, when the biochemist Kazimierz Funk published his groundbreaking research in 1912.
He suggested that some of the diseases resulting from fasting could be prevented with the help of preventive substances – it was they who were called vitamins.
3- The principle of the heart was unknown until the middle of the 17th century
The ancient Greeks and medieval Europeans roughly imagined what a heartbeat was. Then they believed that the most important human organ pumped blood from the liver, where it was supposedly produced, to other tissues where this blood was used.
This misconception was dispelled only in 1628, when William Harvey published a scientific work that voiced an insane hypothesis – in fact, all this time the blood was returning from the veins and arteries directly to the heart.
4- Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were discovered relatively recently
Before mankind invented telescopes, we could observe only five planets with the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus was discovered in 1781, while Neptune was discovered in 1846. Pluto turned out to be the last discovery in general – it was not found until 1930.
5- We still know very little about dinosaurs
The remains of dinosaurs have long been buried in the bowels of the earth: they are much older than humanity itself. However, it took us quite a long time to understand what strange creatures these bones belong to.
People of antiquity attributed them to extinct giants, biblical creatures and mythical monsters, but the scientific works of the first third of the 18th century put an end to this issue. The term “dinosaur” itself appeared a little later, in 1841.
6- Time zones are a relatively recent discovery
Before we found ways to quickly transmit information over long distances, no one was eager to know what time it was on the other side of the world.
The concept of time zones first became widespread in the United States in the 1880s, and even then, not in all areas of life – at first, clock synchronization was used only to check railway schedules.
The American government passed the official Time Regulation Act in 1918. Although in different countries a similar principle works differently: for example, in China there is only one time zone.
7- Not so long ago, microbes were openly mocked
The world around us is full of microscopic living creatures that can cause many different diseases in humans. However, the best minds on the planet did not come up with this idea as quickly as it might seem – it became a generally accepted truth only later.
The theory of germs was born only in 1860 thanks to the educational work of Louis Pasteur. Of course, people already knew that dirty or rotten things can be harmful to health, but then they had no idea how this happens and why.
Naturalists advised commoners to stay away from bad smells or sniff rags soaked in perfume to ward off infection. Even when the inventor of the microscope first spoke of tiny microorganisms floating in seminal fluid and plaque, no one believed him.
8- Viruses were recognized even later than microbes
When the breakthrough in microbiology did take place, the researchers understood only bacteria by “germs” – they were the first to be discovered. Viruses, on the other hand, hid from scientists for some time due to the fact that, as a rule, they cannot be seen through a conventional microscope.
The first discussions about the nature of viruses began in 1892 after the study of a disease that affected tobacco plants. Scientists have found that the liquid squeezed from diseased leaves could infect healthy ones even after filtering, which supposedly saved them from germs.
The true nature of viruses was discovered only after almost half a century, when in 1940 the first photographs of organisms taken using an electron microscope were published.
9- Blood groups were discovered only 100 years ago
Past generations of doctors guessed that the blood of one person could be transfused to another in order to save his life, but the first experiments in this direction ended in failure. Either nothing worked, or the recipient of the transfusion died.
However, closer to the 1900s, doctors noticed that sometimes blood samples from different people coagulate when mixed, while others do not. This discovery led doctors to believe that blood transfusions required some sort of compatibility check between donor and recipient.
10- First aid measures for a heart attack were not documented until the 1960s
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which allows you to keep a person alive with an abnormal heartbeat, was not part of the generally accepted arsenal of medical procedures until the 1960s.
Of course, people were well aware of the effectiveness of artificial respiration for drowning people and chest compressions, but open heart massage was considered the only alternative to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Fortunately, doctors soon agreed that it was not necessary for patients to saw through the chest.
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