Fun Facts About Death You’re Dying To Know
We’re not trying to get too heavy on you, but let’s be real: Death is an inevitable part of life.
It’s also a mystery, and not in an Agatha Christie novel sort of way.
It’s a mystery because no one can prove what is on the other side of life, if anything.
After all, the ancient Egyptians believed when you die you could bring all your stuff with you when you meet the gods.
On the other side of the Mediterranean, the ancient Greeks believed that when you die you take a ride on a boat and cross the River Styx.
While we can’t prove the Egyptians or Greeks nailed it, we do know a thing or two about death. And, if you keep reading, you will too.
1. In medieval times, coffins were frequently shared.
Bodies would be transported in the same coffin to a gravesite. Afterwards, the coffin was emptied and then reused.
Well, I guess our forebears had no problem with the reuse part of reuse, reduce, recycle.
2. Ancient Romans and Celts were the first people to use gravestones.
Gravestones fell out of fashion for the Romans in the 5th century, not too long (relatively speaking) before their empire’s demise.
It wasn’t until the modern era when gravestones began to become fashionable again.
Hey, trends take time to reemerge; just ask any hipster!
3. Approximately 183,000 people die each day.
That’s around 7650 per hour, 128 per minute, and 2.13 per second.
Wait a second. How exactly does .13 of a person die?
4. Old age is not a cause of death.
It’s impossible to die purely because of old age.
That said, it is super common for people to die of illnesses commonly associated with the elderly.
But just being old? Nah, don’t worry—they’re good!
5. Selfies kill more people than shark attacks.
India’s earned the dubious honor of most deaths by selfie, but the US, Russia, and Pakistan are close runners-up.
Also, there’s been at least one death attributed to both a selfie and a shark attack.
We’re super nice folk so we won’t say the words “Darwin Award;” we’ll just write them in this blog.
6. Around 109 billion people have died since the first modern human.
190,000 BCE is a date smart peeps often use to signify when humanity completed our evolution into the current form we know oh so well.
That is unless you aren’t human. Or modern.
Your parents count as the latter. Shocking, right?
7. Fear of death tends to reduce as a person gets older.
Thanatophobia, otherwise known as “death anxiety,” peaks in middle age and lessens as one gets older.
Hey, it’s something new for the elderly to look forward to once canasta, daytime television, and crossword puzzles all get a bit long in the tooth, y’know?
8. It’s speculated that malaria may have killed around 50% of humanity.
Prior to the 20th century, malaria was a common ailment in over half of the world.
Now, thanks to modern advances, malaria is prevalent in only about a quarter of the planet.
Thank you, science; that’s impressive. So celebrate it.
Be forewarned, though: people living in areas still plagued by malaria may not necessarily appreciate your joy, so tone it down!
9. Thomas Edison’s last words were “It is very beautiful over there.”
Similarly, Steve Jobs’ last words were “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
Death is lucky to have boosters like Edison and Jobs. We all could use that level of cheerleading from time to time, am I right?
10. Consciousness is retained for at least a few minutes after death.
Scientists at the University of Southampton in England conducted a multi-year study of near-death experiences.
We’ll let Dr. Sam Parnia, one of the researchers, share the findings: “The evidence thus far suggests that in the first few minutes after death, consciousness is not annihilated. Whether it fades away afterwards, we do not know.”
I guess that’s a more on-brand way for a smart person to say that death isn’t the end than “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
11. Many animals mourn the loss of deceased pack members.
Wait, what? You thought mourning peeps you were tight with was only for Homo sapiens? Nah!
12. Upon death, sight is usually the first of the five senses that is lost.
Sound, on the other hand, tends to be the last of the five senses to go.
Just an FYI: We highly suspect that being blindfolded has almost nothing in common with dying, so why try it?
13. Burying the dead is a practice believed to be around 350,000 years old.
A 45-foot pit with the remains of 27 members of Homo heidelbergensis, a possible ancestor of modern humans, was discovered in Spain.
Debate team nerds, now’s your chance to shine!
After all, couldn’t this just be a big misunderstanding? Couldn’t it be that all of those primitive dudes and dudettes just tripped and fell?