WTF Fun Fact 13399 – Rumors of an Alien Blood Type

A speculative (to say the least!) theory is making waves on TikTok about an alien blood type here on Earth. It’s claiming that individuals with the Rhesus-negative blood type might have extraterrestrial origins. It’s no doubt playing off the recent lack of transparency from the U.S. and other governments about their unidentified aerial phenomenon research.

But in case you think you might be part alien, we’re here to disappoint you.

Quacks, non-experts, and careless speculators

This theory of an alien blood type lacks any legitimate evidence. In fact, it’s not even a new claim.

This “alien blood type” was presented as a “thought-provoking” concept back in 2009 on The History Channel’s show Ancient Aliens. It’s a show that often recklessly combines some scientific research with fringe theories and non-expert viewpoints, typically to get a rise out of people with wild speculations.

So what’s with the alien blood type?

The claim making rounds in the depths of social media states that people with the rhesus-negative blood type could be descendants of extraterrestrials.

It all started with a TikTok video (which is usually how you know it requires more data). It also showed a group of people they refer to as “experts” presenting theories on how these aliens might have influenced our genetic makeup. These commentators suggested that aliens may have been interbreeding with humans or deliberate genetic engineering hybrids at some point in the past. Why? How? Well, since there’s no evidence, there’s no real answer to that.

There’s a LOT of plain old speculation in the clip (including that aliens would even have the same molecular makeup as humans and be able to cross-breed).

Anyway, as a result, the show’s guests suggested – again, without any evidence – that a small portion of the population could be descended from aliens.

Those they chose to be marked as aliens?: People with the relatively rare blood type known as Rhesus (Rh) negative.

What is Rhesus-negative blood?

Only around 15% of the global population has Rhesus-negative blood. As a result, it has intrigued scientists and medical professionals since its discovery in the late 1930s. But there are other rare blood types.

You’ve no doubt heard of the blood types A, B, and O (positive and negative). But there are actually many more blood grouping systems than ABO – over 40 more. This includes Rhesus (Rh), Langereis (Lan), Kell (KEL), Duffy (FY), etc.

So, blood types are really interesting and confusing – and they go far beyond what we learned in 8th-grade biology. That doesn’t mean there’s any reason to believe people with rare blood types are descended from aliens.

Why make the jump from rare blood to alien blood?

The mystery surrounding Rhesis-negative’s origin has allowed some people to do what they do with other things that confuse them – run rampant with random theories. It’s actually pretty common for us to fill in the gaps with our own ideas. But in this case, a few people decided to attribute the blood type’s existence to alien influence. The History Channel gave them a platform on which to do it and made them seem legitimate. And the internet did the rest.

This claim falls under the category of the “Aliens of the Gaps” argument, a variation of the “God of the Gaps” argument often used by creationists. It suggests that when there is no agreed-upon explanation for a phenomenon, it can be attributed to extraterrestrial activity. And if you think that sounds like a reasonable conclusion…well, you do you.

So why, despite the lack of evidence for alien-human hybrids, does the claim persist? Well, it’s presented using a clever rhetorical technique. By combining the views of actual scientists and experts with non-experts in a way that blurs the lines between them, it creates the illusion of a balanced discussion where all perspectives are equally valid.

You might now recognize how common this rhetorical strategy is these days – even when it doesn’t involve aliens.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Having Rhesus-Negative Blood Does Not Mean You’re Descended From Aliens” — IFL Science

WTF Fun Fact 13134 – Brussels sprouts bitter no longer

Have you ever wondered why today’s Brussels sprouts don’t taste as gross as they might have while you were growing up? It’s not just your palate that’s changed, but the sprouts themselves. Thanks to some genetic tinkering, Dutch scientists have made Brussels sprouts bitter no longer.

Brussels sprouts get a makeover

Brussels sprouts simply don’t taste the same way they did a few decades ago. If you hated them as a kid, there’s at least some chance you might like them now.

According to NPR (cited below): “This all started to change in the 1990s, and it began in the Netherlands, where Brussels sprouts have a simpler name: spruitjes. A Dutch scientist named Hans van Doorn, who worked at the seed and chemical company Novartis (the seed part is now called Syngenta), figured out exactly which chemical compounds in spruitjes made them bitter.”

The next step was to consult the seed archives (libraries of seeds for different types of Brussels sprouts). Companies then planted them all and began selecting for the ones with the least bitterness.

Making a better Brussels sprout

Once scientists chose the best candidates for less bitter sprouts, “They cross-pollinated these old varieties with modern, high-yielding ones, trying to combine the best traits of old and new spruitjes. It took many years. But it worked.” Then word spread in the professional culinary scene. It took off mainly in the United States, not in Europe.

Once word got out about everyone’s least favorite vegetable from childhood tasting a bit different, big-name chefs (like David Chang at Momofuku in New York) got on board and started selling them again. People were delighted to have a new vegetable to enjoy and the “new” Brussels sprouts took off without people knowing the bitterness chemical had actually been bred out of them.

Most of us who like Brussels sprouts now assume we just have more mature palates. But we actually have the Dutch to thank for getting our greens with less suffering.  WTF fun facts

Source: “From Culinary Dud To Stud: How Dutch Plant Breeders Built Our Brussels Sprouts Boom” — NPR