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15 WTF Facts About Siberia

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Humanity is at the top of the food chain for a variety of reasons. The reason why we’re at the top isn’t because we’re the strongest or the smartest, as much as we’d like to believe that that’s the case. It’s because of our extreme adaptability. We as humans are the most adaptable species on the planet. We can take any environment and carve an existence out of it. It’s how our species has managed to live for so long. We can live in places where other species can’t live, and we can be comfortable there for generations. One place where people have managed to carve out a living for themselves is Siberia. Siberia is a place where people live in incredibly severe conditions, and do it in style.

Siberia is a place that has a ton of history, geographical marvels, and the most beloved dog breed in the world. We can talk about a lot of things when it comes to Siberia, but I’ve narrowed it down to the 15 coolest talking points about the area. We’re going to get into how Siberia is a lot bigger than we think it is, how it’s been marked by outer space, and how the people of Siberia are almost superhuman. That’s not because they’re genetically superior or X-men or anything, it’s because they live in Siberia. We’re even going to get into how a mythical creature calls Siberia its home. Here’s what you need to know about Siberia, one of the coolest and coldest places in the world.

15. Siberia Is Basically Most Of Russia

Siberia is a stretch of territory that stretches for thousands of miles. To be accurate, it’s about 9,734 square kilometers. That seems like a lot, and it really is. However, the most important thing about that stretch of land is that it makes up a lot more of Russia than you think it does. It turns out that Siberia is about 57% of Russia. That means that Russia is mostly made up of Siberia if you really think about it. In comparison to other countries, Siberia is roughly the size of Canada, which is the second largest country in the entire world. If you really think about it, if Siberia ever decided to go off on its own for whatever reason, they’d be one of the biggest countries on earth without even trying.

14. Siberia Has The Deepest Lake In The World

Siberia is home to a unique little lake known as Lake Baikal. When I say little, I’m being a little facetious, by the way. Lake Baikal isn’t actually small at all, it’s about the size of the Netherlands. Considering that Siberia itself is roughly the size of Canada, it makes sense that its lakes would be similarly gargantuan. However, Lake Baikal’s size isn’t the thing we’re going to talk about here. The thing we’re going to talk about here is the fact that Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest freshwater lake in the whole world. On top of that, there’s only one river that flows from the lake at all: the Angara River, That’s probably why the water is so clean. The water in this lake is so clear, you can see up to 50 meters in it. Hopefully, this lake stays clean for the foreseeable future, because 20% of the world’s fresh water lives in Lake Baikal in Siberia. If you’re ever looking to visit Siberia, check out the lake: the weather’s generally nice around there.

13. The Tunguska Meteorite

One of the weirder astronomical events in history happened in Siberia. Basically, a meteor fell around the Stony Tunguska River on the morning on June 30th, 1908. Two thousand square kilometers of forest were flattened, but when they went looking for the meteor’s impact site, they couldn’t find it. It’s an impact event, but nothing has been found. It’s the largest impact event our planet has ever had, but there’s no evidence on the ground that it ever happened. Since the event happened, scientists have been trying to figure out how an event of this nature happened and there’s no evidence of an impact for it. That means that people have been trying to figure this out for over a century. Scientists have estimated that the meteorite’s impact would have had an effect that was about 1,000 times greater than the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Needless to say, this is a big deal.

12. The Great Vasyugan Swamp

The Great Vasyugan Swamp is the biggest swamp system in the entire northern hemisphere. It’s located right in the middle of Siberia, and it’s kind of a geographical marvel. The swamps in this area are distributed over a huge swath of the country, going on for hundreds of kilometers in all directions. It’s a weird set of swamps, and there’s no other body of land in the world that’s quite like it. This might not seem like the most interesting fact in the world to you: after all, this is about swamps. However, this just goes to show how unique Siberia is in comparison to the rest of the world. It’s because of that uniqueness that all of the rest of this stuff can happen here.

11. The Wonderful World Of Permafrost

Russia is a really cold place, and a lot of that has to do with Siberia. Most of Russia’s territory isn’t made of normal ground, it’s made of permafrost. That means that 65% of Russia is literally always frozen. Most of that permafrost is located in Siberia. The reason why we’re talking about this is because of the issues climate change is causing in Siberia. It turns out that methane lives inside permafrost, and it’s being released thanks to global warming. That means that there’s going to be a lot less of this stuff in the near future. Thawing permafrost might seem like kind of a mundane issue to you, but this is a pretty terrible thing for the world at large. The more permafrost melts throughout the world, the higher the seas rise, and that causes all sorts of issues that could cause a lot of life threatening issues for our species.

10. All About Siberian Rivers

Egypt has the Nile, the longest river in the world. However, Siberia has four of the top ten longest rivers in the world, so while they’re not longer than the Nile, they’re pretty long either way. The four longest Siberian rivers are the Ob, Amur, Lena and Yenisei. While that’s pretty interesting, what’s way more interesting is the Dalkdykan River. It’s not longer than the rivers I’ve just mentioned, but it did turn blood red for no reason at all. Russian authorities were baffled, and the people in the area were justifiably freaked out. According to the National Geographic, there are two possible reasons that this happened. “The first is that the red color comes from the large quantity of iron that occurs naturally in the ground in that region,” National Geographic said. “The second is a chemical leak.” Regardless, it’s still really, really weird, and personally, I hope it doesn’t happen again, or anywhere else.

9. The Cutest Dogs Ever

Very few dogs are as beloved, especially on the Internet, then Siberian huskies. You’ll probably know these dogs anywhere: they’re recognizable by their gait, build, and fur color. If you’re looking to get these dogs as a pet, there are some things you should know. They live anywhere from 12-14 years, and they come with some genetic issues, especially ones that target the eyes. Siberian huskies are known for being more susceptible to things like glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, and retinal atrophy. They’re also more likely to get seizures. That being said, they’re not quite as likely to have hip issues, which is a major bonus. These dogs have actually been involved in history as well: entire tribes of people owe their survival to them, and an admiral of the US Navy was able to use them to help him find the North Pole. They’re also almost violently adorable, so there’s that, too.

8. We Come From Siberia

It turns out that we all come from Siberia, more or less. They found a site there that is probably the place where the most ancient people lived, over a million years ago. At that time, Siberia wasn’t quite as cold as we know it to be today, and the climate at the time was actually something that looked more favorable. Homo sapiens weren’t living there, though: Siberia was home to the Asian species Homo erectus. Homo erectus, according to genetic analysis, could very well be our ancestors. Some of those remains were found in the Denisova Cave, and the cave was explored during the 1970s. One set of remains they found belonged to Woman X, who was discovered in 2008.

7. Our Relatives Come From Siberia Too

Speaking of Woman X, she’s not exactly a Homo erectus or a Homo sapiens, either. She actually belongs to a new species known as Denisov humans. They’re a really recent addition to the human family tree. They’re extinct now, but we know a lot more than you’d think. When scientists found Woman X, they didn’t find all of her, they just found her finger. They found the remains of teeth of two more people, but between that and the finger, we can infer a lot about the Denisov humans. The finger bone that they found was really thick for a finger, especially considering it’s a woman’s finger. As for the teeth, they don’t look like our teeth at all. This shows that the Denisov humans we built a lot less like us and a lot more like Neanderthals. Either way, they’re related to us.

6. Kemerovo: A Utopia

Kemerovo in Siberia was basically an independent utopia, which is particularly interesting if you think about it. Leaders of the international trade union movement were pretty stoked to hear about the first socialist state being established in 1917, and they wanted to set up a colony. Once all the formalities were settled, Kemerovo became an international colony, and by 1922, the first colonists were showing up from all over the world. They first started out speaking English, but they speak Russian more often than not now. This city was a really big deal because it showed people from all over the world cooperating together to make a functioning society.“What I saw in Kemerovo pleasantly surprised me… it is a big deal. You can see that the workers are the owners of their enterprise and they know how to manage it,” said Thomas Mann. While the idea in itself was pretty great, the Soviet government hated the idea, and by 1928, people started heading home. Either way, the idea was a success, which just goes to show that maybe, just maybe, it could be done again.

5. People Are Super Healthy In Siberia

People in Siberia are so healthy, people describe it as “Siberian health.” This makes sense, considering you can’t actually survive in the extreme temperatures of Siberia without some semblance of good health. As people get older, they find themselves moving to a more temperate zone of Russia just because life there is so severe. There are even health product lines called “Siberian Health” because the phrase is so well known and the health of people in Siberia is that good. These are people who go swimming in ice holes on Lake Baikal in bikinis just because they can, guys. They don’t play around when it comes to living in extreme conditions.

4. Siberians Are Almost Superhuman

I mentioned the swimming in ice holes thing, but the endurance of the Siberian people goes a lot further than that. There’s a story about a Siberian man on the train who accidentally fell out of it. When he found himself in that precarious predicament, he was wearing a T-shirt, which would have been fine if he wasn’t wearing it in weather that was -45 degrees Celsius. He went running after the train for seven kilometers, making it to the nearest station, wearing that T-shirt and running in rubber slippers. Not only did he catch up, he didn’t even get sick! You might be a person who doesn’t get sick easily, but chances are if you found yourself in that situation, you probably wouldn’t fare as well as this man did.

3. Driving In Siberia Can Be Life Or Death

I don’t care where you’re from, I can promise you that your driving experience is easier than any driving you might find yourself doing in Siberia. For one, if it’s the wintertime, you have to keep your car running all winter, even when it’s parked, or else you’re not going to be able to restart it later, and you’ll have to wait till spring to drive anywhere. More often than not, people are driving Russian-made cars in Siberia, just because imported cars can’t deal with the conditions in Siberia, especially the north. They have to have special winter roads specifically for driving in the winter. If your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you might actually die out there. The only way you make it out of that situation is if someone stops and helps you, which is thankfully something that happens in Siberia a lot. Without helping each other, life in Siberia might have been impossible.

2. Unicorns Lived In Siberia

Unicorns are a mythical creature, but it turns out that a unicorn life creature could have lived in Siberia. However, these creatures aren’t like the ones we know in storybooks. Siberian unicorns are more like big, horned rhino-like creatures. Scientists thought they lived 350,000 years ago, but it turns out they lived about 29,000 years ago. That’s still a really long time ago, but it’s not nearly as long as it could have been. According to science, they lived on root plants that they ate with hard, horny lips because they didn’t have teeth. When they were around, Siberia was much warmer, which was what they liked. Pre-historic humans were around to see them, and there’s a chance that our ancestors killed them because they’d managed to survive a few ice ages before ultimately going extinct. These unicorns are nothing like we know unicorns to be, but they’re still kind of awesome.

1. People Live There Comfortably

We’ve gotten into how people have managed to survive Siberia’s extreme conditions, but what’s really special about this is that the people who live in Siberia are actually really comfortable there. People have no problem dropping in on their friends who live hundreds of kilometers away because that’s how life is there. People there use the phrase “1000 miles is not a distance.” to show that long distances and long travel times don’t actually mean all that much to them. You can sunbathe in Siberia and even get burned by it. They live in -20 degree Celsius weather without any issues, since the weather has to be -38 degrees Celsius or below before we as people start to feel it. People make winter clothes there for function, not style, even covering themselves up to their eyes to avoid frostbite, which can happen if it’s -60 degrees Celsius and a slight breeze rolls in. Siberia is an interesting place due to its geography, culture, nearly superhuman population, and history.

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