Funny facts about the Amazon rainforest

Written by eija rissanen
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Funny facts about the Amazon rainforest
Marvel at the wonders of the Amazon rainforest. (Atelopus/iStock/Getty Images)

The Amazon rainforest is one of the world's greatest natural resources. It recycles and produces about 20 per cent of the Earth's oxygen and is therefore called the "lungs of our planet." The Amazon rainforest is named after the Amazon River that is the source of its life. With its unimaginable number of plant and animal species, the Amazon is a natural wonder that never stops surprising you. The facts about the Amazon rainforest can make you cry at what is being lost, or laugh with amazement.

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Size

Covering more than 2.5 million square miles and two-fifths of South America, the Amazon rainforest is the largest and densest rainforest on Earth. If the Amazon rainforest were a country, it would be the ninth largest country in the world. Rainforests only cover less than six per cent of Earth's total land surface today, and the Amazon represents 54 per cent of the rainforest cover. Diminishing the percentage, 10.9 billion hectares (2.7 billion acres) of rainforest are burnt each year.

Amazon River

The Amazon River runs through the Amazon rainforest and discharges to the Atlantic Ocean. The river originates from the Andes and is more than 4,000 miles long, making it the second longest river in the world after the Nile. It runs through eight countries. The Amazon has more than 1,100 tributaries, and 17 of them are longer than 1,000 miles. More than two-thirds of the fresh water in the world can be found in the rivers, streams and tributaries associated with the Amazon River.

Flora

A single hectare of Amazon rainforest has more than 900 tonnes of living plants, which include 750 different types of trees and 1,500 other plants, making the Amazon the biggest collection of plant species in the world and home to more than half of the world's plants. The plants found in the Amazon have numerous medical uses, with many of the possible medical uses still undiscovered. About 70 per cent of the plants having anti-cancer abilities are from the Amazon rainforest, and more than 90 per cent of the plants used by native tribes living in the Amazon have not been studied by scientists for more possible medical purposes. In addition, numerous edible fruits familiar to native tribes are not cultivated for commercial consumption. The estimation is that there are more than 3,000 fruits growing in the Amazon; native tribes use more than 1,500 of them, but only 200 are grown for outside use.

Fauna

The toucan is the symbol of the Amazon, and more than one-third of the world's bird species live in the rainforest. In addition to birds, the Amazon rainforest is full of other animal species such as insects, frogs, fish and ants. Actually, there are more ants in the rainforest, considering both weight and numbers, than any other animal species. If you swiped a net in the air less than 2,000 times, you would catch more than 500 different species. And don't forget the fish. The Amazon River has more fish species than there are in the Atlantic Ocean -- over 2,500.

Native tribes

The Amazon rainforest is also home to humans. Around 250,000 Amazon natives are believed to be living in the rainforest, and they comprise 215 ethnic groups speaking 170 different languages. About 50 native Amazon tribes living deep in the rainforest have never had any contact with the civilised world.

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