15 Facts About The Amazon You Didn't Know
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Facts About the Amazon Rainforest
1. The Amazon is arguably the longest river in the world at 6,992 km, and contains more water than the Mississippi, Nile, and Yangtze combined.
2. The name 'Amazon' was given by Spanish explorer Francisco Orellana, after he was attacked by female warriors named theIcamiabas, or 'women without husbands'. He compared them to the Amazons of Greek mythology.
3. The Amazon delivers 55 million gallons of water into the Atlantic ocean every second.
4. More than 20% of the world's oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.
5. If Amazonia were a country, it would be the 9th largest in the world, measuring in at a whopping 2.5 million square miles.
6. 25% of all western pharmaceuticals come from rainforest based ingredients, yet less than 1% of the trees and plants in the Amazon have ever been tested by scientists.
7. The Amazon rainforest contains more than 3,000 fruits. Only 200 of these are consumed in the western world.
8. More than 80% of the world's food has its origins in the Amazon rainforest.
9. One hectare (2.47 acres) of the rainforest can contain more than 750 types of tree, and 1,500 types of plant.
10. The Amazon rainforest can be found in 9 South American countries; Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and the three Guyanas.
11. The rainforest floor is very dark, with less than 1% of the light making it through the canopy of the trees.
12. Due to deforestation, it is estimated we are making more than 137 species extinct every day!
13. Whilst deforestation has slowed in recent years, the Amazon rainforest is still disappearing at a rate of 1.5 acres every second, meaning the Amazon will be completely destroyed within 40 years if deforestation continues at the current rate.
14. Around 30% of our carbon emissions come from burning the Amazon rainforest.
15. In 2006 geologists studying the speed at which the Amazon carried sediments out to sea found, to their surprise, that the oldest sediments they found were upstream of their source. They soon realized that, until the Cretaceous Period, the Amazon actually flowed backward, east to west! It wasn’t until the Andes Mountains began their rise 100 million years ago that the river reversed course and chose its current direction.