What if dinosaurs were still around? What would happen if you got sucked into a black hole? Nat Geo Kids tracked down the answers to these and other wacky questions. Get the scoop on some curious head-scratchers with help from the Nat Geo Kids book What Would Happen? by Crispin Boyer.
WHAT IF TIGERS DIDN'T HAVE STRIPES?
Animals such as deer and antelope would love stripeless tigers. The big cats’ patterns let them blend in with their grassy and forested habitats in Asia so they can hide and pounce on unsuspecting prey. Without stripes, a tiger would be easier to spot. This means prey could escape before the feline attacked, making it harder for the big cats to secure grub. Over time tigers might be able to develop other hunting techniques. For instance, it’s possible they’d begin to hunt in groups as lions do in order to corner runaway prey. But tigers won’t be losing their patterns anytime soon, so they’ll continue to snag prey with their solo hide-and-seek sessions. —Kate Jaimet
WHAT IF DINOSAURS HADN'T GONE EXTINCT?
If dinos still roamed Earth, they’d likely be the world’s most dominant animals. And it’s possible that they’d have picked up a few more skills. For instance, some species might have learned to use simple tools. (After all, types of birds—the dinosaur’s closest living relatives—developed the ability to use tools such as sticks and leaves to dig or “fish” for food.) If humans were around in a dino-filled world, we’d need to avoid getting eaten by carnivorous dinosaurs. And plant-eating dinos would gobble up lots of leafy greens, leaving us with way less to eat. If these guys still existed, it would be anything but dino-mite. —Rose Davidson
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU GOT SUCKED INTO A BLACK HOLE?
Space adventurers should skip these dark destinations during their jaunt across the galaxy. Most black holes form when dying stars collapse, creating an area of space with an extremely strong gravitational force that sucks in anything nearby. If you were dragged into one of these locations, the force of gravity would cause you to become longer and thinner until you were as thin as a spaghetti noodle. Eventually you’d be stretched so thin that everything would snap into smaller and smaller bits. Luckily the chances of you actually encountering a black hole are, well, beyond slim. —Crispin Boyer
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE EARTH WERE FLAT?
This alternate world would be a flat-out weird place to live. On our real-life round planet, gravity presses everything toward Earth’s core. But if our world were a flat disk, gravity would push everything toward the middle, causing seas and lakes to pool together in the center. Moving around the planet would be difficult since you’d really start to feel gravity push against you anytime you traveled too far from the middle. But a trip to Earth’s rim, which according to some might look like Antarctica, would be worth it. From here, you could peer over the edge for a stunning view of space. —Crispin Boyer
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU WERE RAISED BY WOLVES?
Your life would be wild. With no one to teach you human speech, you’d likely bark and howl. Rather than walking upright, you’d probably move on all fours like the rest of your furry family. As part of the pack, you’d do “chores,” such as babysitting younger pups while your parents looked for food. And instead of learning math, you’d learn to hunt. You might even develop extra-sharp senses of smell and hearing since you’d rely on these to find grub. —Crispin Boyer