Page 56 - Sports Facts

Although modern ice hockey originated in Canada, it only has 6 teams in the NHL.

Though there have been several franchises lost and gained over the decades, the mid-90s may have been hardest on Canadian hockey fans. In consecutive years, two of Canada’s hockey franchises relocated to America: the Quebec Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995 and the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes the following year. This left only 6 teams in Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver - comprising just one-fifth of the entire league!

The word ‘alligator’ comes from the Spanish word for lizard.

Spanish explorers in the New World called these creatures el lagarto de Indias, which means “the lizard of the Indies.” Over the years, the Spanish article and word were blended into a single moniker - ‘alligator.’ Therefore, when you call one of these reptiles ‘the alligator,’ it’s kind of like you are saying ‘the the lizard’!

You can read more about the origin of "alligator" here.

Even more confusing: while alligator comes form the Spanish word for lizard, the Spanish word for alligator is caimán. In English, a caiman is a different animal that’s related to an alligator!

A street called Canusa Ave has Canada on one side of it and the U.S. on the other!

Houses on one side of the street are in Canada (Quebec) and on the other side the houses are in the U.S. (Vermont). People used to cross the border regularly in their day-to-day lives. However, recently the U.S. government has heightened border security, set up border patrol agents, and now a passport is required to cross. The building that houses the town library and the opera, however, is still in both countries.

You can learn more about this unusual neighborhood in this NPR story or by watching this video.

Some awesome lists!

Koalas are the only non-primates that have unique fingerprints.

The development of fingerprints, also known as dermatoglyphes is thought to be a biomechanical adaptation for grasping. This type of functionality is essential to the koala’s way of life, since they survive by climbing eucalyptus trees and consuming their leaves. Most primates (gorillas, monkeys, early humanoids, etc.) are also arboreal, meaning they live primarily in and off of trees. This means that primates and koalas must have precise control over movement and static pressures on the skin of their fingers so over time, fingerprints evolved. Some primates have unique prints on their tails as well.

Click here to learn more about fingerprints. For more facts about Koalas click here.

A sheep, a duck, and a rooster were the first passengers on a hot air balloon.

On September 19, 1783 a hot air balloon took off from Versailles carrying this strange assortment of animals. The flight lasted a total of 8 minutes and was witnessed by Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the rest of the French royal court of the time. I have no idea why these specific animals were chosen, but they were surely attempting to ascertain whether this mode of transportation would be safe for human passengers. Just one month later, Pilatre de Rozier and Marquis d'Arlandes became the first human hot air balloon passengers in history!


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