Fact-checking Olaf's 'Frozen 2' science: Do turtles really breathe from their butts?
Olaf got deep in "Frozen 2."
During that long horse ride from Arendelle to the Enchanted Forest, the daffy snowman (voiced by Josh Gad) dropped some mad science trivia on Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) in the new sequel to the animated Disney hit.
Olaf's pronouncement that water has memory turns into a major theme in the movie. But turtles breathing from their butts? Wombats pooping in squares? Are any of these claims true?
We asked Nick Uhas, host of Discovery Channel's "The Science Minute"to help us determine whether the snowman was just blowing hot air.
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Olaf claims: Water has memory
Sorry, Olaf. The concept that water retains a memory of substances previously dissolved in it is not accepted in the scientific community. The controversial claim shot to prominence in 1988 with the publication of a paper in the respected scientific journal Nature by the late immunologist Jacques Benveniste.
The claim defied the laws of physics and molecular biology and a follow-up scientific investigation stated that the proclamation was ''as unnecessary as it is fanciful.''
"Since water is considered a non-living entity, without any neural tissue, we can with confidence say it does not have memory in the traditional sense," Uhas says.
However, water can provide clues about its origin. In some cases, the impurities left in water "can give us an idea about where the water has been or what it has been exposed to," Uhas says.
For example, if a water sample contains significant salt, people can deduce it was in or around seawater, mineral springs or in contact with road salt. "This then could give us a more specific region or location to where the water has been or came from," Uhas says.
Olaf: Turtles breathe through their butts
We're going to give this a true. "In short, yes ... It sounds totally insane," Uhas says.
All turtles bring in air through their mouth and lungs, where oxygen diffuses across lung tissue and into their bloodstream.
But some turtles, like the Australian white-throated snapping turtle, can absorb oxygen from water through their cloaca – a backside tube that functions as a waste-excreting, breeding and egg-laying zone.
The ability gives turtles an advantage in hiding from predators, though "butt"-breathing efficiency varies.
"Some turtles can get 20% of their oxygen this way, others 70%," Uhas says. "But the lungs still serve as the primary breathing organ."
Olaf: Men are 6 times more likely to be struck by lightning than women
We're going to say close enough. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that men are are five times more likely than females to be struck by lightning, with men accounting for about 85% of lightning fatalities.
It's not something for guys to obsess over, since the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000. If you're truly concerned, lay low in the afternoon. Two-thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6 p.m.
Olaf: People blink 4 million times a day
Whoa, Olaf. Way off. A 2012 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that humans blink up to 20 times a minute, which blocks visual input for a period amounting to 10% of our waking hours. Even pushed to the extreme (being awake 24 hours) that's only 28,800 times a day.
Olaf claim: Wombats poop in squares
The snowman knows his wombat scat. The burrowing Australian marsupials are the only animals in the world known to produce cube-shaped poop, according to National Geographic. Scientists believe it might help mark territory or may be because of the extreme lack of water in their living conditions, which results in rigid, dry cube shapes.