"WTF" Science Discoveries of 2020

Monochrome engraved vintage drawing human brain in side view with woodcut print style illustration isolated on white background
Science can help the world break free from the throes of a pandemic. Science can rewrite history. Science can make us look at our house cat a little differently. Science is full of revelations that feel shocking. Every year, there are dozens of findings, proven through a rigorous peer-review process, that can still make us question what we know. This is Inverse's annual tongue-in-cheek celebration of remarkable science that makes us ask, WTF?mikroman6/Moment/Getty Images
2020 countdown

'Anti-gravity' experiment defies physics using one simple trick

Is physics broken?

here kitty

The science behind catnip’s potent powers, explained

This trick of evolution will blow your mind.

Fossil Finds

An ancient case of mistaken identity reveals a strange amphibian

You won't be able to keep up with the twists and turns in this story.

glamor shot

3.2 billion-pixel space camera captures largest photo ever

party sheep

This is a sheep's brain on ketamine

Drugged sheep could be the future of treatments for depression.


Finally, scientists find the oldest sperm in the world

Old and massive.


Vaping coats the mouth in a "slime-cloak" — study

E-cigarettes can totally mess with the microbes in your mouth.

Medical Mishaps

Chloroquine: the miracle drug that never was

It was never meant to be.

pill box

Brain-boosting supplements may be laced with unapproved foreign drugs — study

These supplements may not be a smart choice.


This ancient worm-like creature is an evolutionary miracle

It is pure fate that we do not share the Earth with them.

bear cat

Saber-tooth tigers may have been the size of grand pianos — study

Complex Sex

This duck's semen holds a surprising clue to animal evolution

Sperm may be mallard ducks' superpower.


The 25 most “WTF” science stories of 2019

Things got weird this year. Real weird.

Mind and Body

Scientists discover a “therapeutic gold mine” in one surprising place

Everyone hates it, but snot might solve many of our woes.

Mind and Body

Mutants among us: "Natural short sleepers" reveal the genetics of sleep

Understanding why some people need just 4 to 6 hours sleep a night could lead to better sleep for everyone.

Mind and Body

The science-backed guide to intermittent fasting, 2019's most popular diet

In 2019, Inverse asked the experts what intermittent fasting actually does to your body.


Ancient humans procreated with at least four other species

In 2019, the human family tree got a little more complicated.

Mind and Body

Peeing at night could cost the United States' economy billions 

Midnight nature calls cause unwelcome disruptions to sleep -- but the costs may be even higher. 

Mind and Body

How a "fussy eater" went blind from a junk food diet  

This rare, devastating condition is usually only seen in war zones.

Mind and Body

Pfizer study argues Viagra may improve an unexpected type of performance 

Viagra's parent company tried to expand its empire from the bedroom to the office in 2019.

Mind and Body

How Medieval Christians built the modern nuclear family

A centuries-old cultural shift still influences families -- and you -- today.

Mind and Body

Almost all near-death experiences have these visions in common -- study

Deceased relatives and dark tunnels are just the beginning. 

Mind and Body

'Cats' is undeniably creepy, and there's a psychological reason for it

They're sexy. They're creepy. They live in the uncanny valley.

Mind and Body

Scientific breakthrough may push an aphrodisiac mushroom into the mainstream

The fungus can be found protruding from the corpse of a dead caterpillar.