We've worked pretty hard here at Cracked to establish the fact that people from the past were batshit insane. They believed some of the most ridiculous things imaginable, though you can't blame them considering that instead of scientists, they had crazy people claiming to be oracles.
Yet... some of the outlandish myths wound up suspiciously close to the mark. How? We have no idea.
Even if you've never been in the same room as a Bible, we're guessing you know the story of Noah's Ark.
Or have at least seen the ethnic, gay, television drama version of it.
God decides mankind is so utterly corrupt that it's time to hit the reset switch and just flood the planet. Similar stories come up in folklore all over the world, from the ancient Greeks to the Babylonians, always with a huge flood that kills almost everyone, and often with mankind having to recover its population. For instance, in China, it's a goddess named Nuwa who stops the flood and creates humans out of clay.
Some are more clay-like than others.
In the Bible's version, God tells Noah that he is less of a dick than everyone else on Earth, and instructs Noah to build a really big boat. Really, really big. So big that it could hold at least two of every single animal on the entire planet. It rained for 40 days, flooding the world and killing off all life except that which was on Noah's boat. When the flood ended, all of the animals got off the boat and immediately started boning for their lives, because two individuals needed to repopulate their entire species.
At some point a duck wandered into the wrong tent and POW: Platypuses.
A worldwide natural disaster that kills everyone but a huddled few, who then have to repopulate the world? It happens all the time. When biologists analyze the past of a species they often run into what they call genetic bottlenecks, indicating evolutionary events where virtually all of a species were killed or otherwise prevented from reproducing.
For instance, cheetahs had one of these not too long ago. You know how if a human gets a skin graft or kidney transplant, we have to find a relative who's a close enough match and take immunosuppressants so our body doesn't reject the donor organ? A cheetah wouldn't have to do any of that. They had such an extreme genetic bottleneck recently (that is, so few remained) that all the Cheetahs we have now are essentially close relatives.
"Cheetahs are the inbred rednecks of the African savannah." - Jack Hanna
And humans? We've previously talked about the Toba Event, some unknown disaster 75,000 years ago that may have reduced the population of humanity to just 5,000 freaking people.
More than were supposedly on Noah's Ark, sure, but few enough you could have fit everyone left on Earth on board the Titanic.
And while we're on the Bible...