• Neanderthal man, the first human being in the true sense, had a brain capacity 100 cubic centimeters larger than modern man’s.
  • At funerals in ancient China, when the lid of the coffin was closed, mourners took a few steps backward to prevent their shadows from getting caught in the box.
  • Roman coins minted during the reign of Diocletian have been excavated in remote parts of Iceland. No one is quite certain what this signifies historically, as the very existence of Iceland was unknown to the ancient Romans.
  • The ancient Greek leader Pericles was so self-conscious about his pointed head that he would only pose for portraits wearing a helmet.
  • In 16th-century Europe, many druggists sold medicine made from the powder of Egyptian mummies. Such “”medicine”” was considered good for gout and catarrh and was often incorporated into products known as “”mummy balm”” or “”Egyptian salve.”” In 1564, someone named Guy de la Fontaine attempted to corner the mummy market in Alexandria, Egypt, a center for the export of such commodities. He discovered that Alexandrian merchants had for some time been selling the mummified remains of derelicts who had died not so long before from a variety of rather loathsome diseases.
  • The candies most likely to cause tooth decay are dark chocolate and fudge. Those least likely to damage the teeth are nut or coconut-covered candies. The most harmful baked goods are chocolate-chip cookies, frosted cakes and graham crackers. The least harmful to the teeth are pies, plain cakes and doughnuts.
  • Fashionable women in medieval Japan gilded or blackened their teeth. Today, some Hindu women in India stain their teeth bright red to enhance their appearances.
  • Catherine de Medici was the first woman in Europe to use tobacco. She took it in a mixture of snuff.
  • Oak trees are struck by lightning more often than any other tree. This, it has been theorized, is one reason that the ancient Greeks considered oak trees sacred to Zeus, god of thunder and lightning.