Fun Facts About Oil

The oil industry may be controversial, but we couldn’t make a lot of our modern products without it. In a lot of ways, it’s the engine that drives modern society. If you own a cell phone, TV, or any number of plastic products, oil was instrumental in making those things you take for granted. In fact, there are all kinds of interesting facts about oil that may surprise you. Here are just a few of them that you may find interesting.


It’s been common knowledge that the oil we extract from the ground is the by-product of ancient dinosaur remains – at least that’s what we’ve always been taught. It turns out that oil may not come from dinosaurs after all. Some scientists are convinced it’s the residue of ancient bacteria from the dinosaur epoch. There also some proponents, mostly in Russia, that believe it’s actually produced by the earth and has simply bubbled up from the earth’s core. Whatever the truth really is, it seems that we may not have dinosaurs to thank for the fossil fuel industry after all.

Ancient Greek Weapons

Oil has been used for a lot of different purposes over the years. The ancient Chinese used it for lubrication, and in the Middle Ages it was used as well. Today, it’s everywhere you turn. What you may not know is that there’s a strong argument to be made that the ancient Greeks also used it to create terrifying weapons that they launched at their enemies. They were known to use flaming arrows that couldn’t be dowsed by water – in fact, any attempt to do so just made things worse. That is exactly how oil would react if you used it that way, so it seems a good bet they were using oil on their arrows.

Helps the Whales

The sperm whale is a beautiful animal, but it came close to extinction in the late 19th century because of extensive hunting by whalers. Whale oil was used in lamps, soaps, lubricants, cosmetics, and even early photographs. It got to a point that we were using the whale’s oil in so many products, the animals simply couldn’t keep up with the demand. Fortunately, the rise of the automobile industry triggered a demand for fossil fuels, and we soon discovered that we could use these to make other products as well. The demand for whale oil declined, and, while the animals are still endangered, most nations have abandoned the whaling industry.

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