One of the great things about scientists is that they are never hesitant to admit when they are wrong. Theories are constantly being developed and every so often, old ones are being reconstructed. Below, we are going to cover ten scientific discoveries that turned out to be completely wrong.
10. Discovery of Vulcan
Vulcan was a planet that was said to exist somewhere between Mercury and the Sun. This theory was created in the nineteenth century when mathematician Jean Joseph Le Verrier proposed the existence of such a planet. He, along with many other scientists, was unable to explain how Mercury’s orbit worked. Because of this, they came to the conclusion that some kind of object, like a planet or moon, was acting as a gravitational force in that area. Needless to say, this was debunked.
9. Spontaneous Generation
Although it would sound very crazy today, people believed in spontaneous generation for thousands of years. Basically, spontaneous generation is the theory that life can arise without first being formed through any means of natural production like birth, eggs, or seeds. Believe it or not, Aristotle was one of the lead researchers on this theory and he shared his ideas with the scientific community. The reason he came to this decision was because he saw that maggots could seemingly form from dead animals. Of course, we know better now.
8. Expanding Earth
Today, we know that the structure of the surface of the Earth is based around tectonic plates. However, this idea was not so popular in the 20th century. There were several scientists who believed that the Earth was constantly increasing in volume. This became known as the “Expanding Earth Theory”. The idea behind this hypothesis was that underwater mountain ranges were constantly moving and growing larger. And while the theory was looked upon by Darwin itself, we now know that the Earth is not behaving in such a manner.
7. Phlogiston Theory
This idea originated way back in 1667 and basically stated that all combustible objects contained an element known as “Phlogiston”. Scientists believed that this element was the reason that combustion was even possible in the first place. Aside from the theories associated with combustion, scientists also believed that this element could explain other processes like the rusting of metal and even oxygen.
6. Martian Canals
In the 19th century, some scientists believed that there were something called the “Martian Canals” on the red planet. These canals were a network of ravines and gullies that could be seen by the scientists. This theory was originally discovered by a man named Giovanni Schiaparelli, an Italian astronomer. After witnessing the canals, he believed that they were something of a phenomenon. After this, the theory that they were developed by some kind of unknown and intelligent life base came to rise. No evidence was ever found to support this theory.