The Amazon River is one of the most magnificent water bodies in the world. Besides being one of the world’s largest and longest rivers, there are so many other facts about the river that are interesting and worth knowing. For starters, here are some surprising facts about the Amazon River.

10 The Amazon River Is Arguably The Longest River In The World

While the Nile is often credited as the longest river in the world with a length of 6,695 km (4160 miles), the Amazon River often disputes that claim. According to the Guinness World Records, if the Par estuary - the most distant mouth of the Amazon River - is measured, then the total length will indefinitely stand at 6,750 km (4,195 miles). Some other scientists even claimed the distance of the river was 6,992 km thereby creating more confusion and leaving the actual length of the Amazon River open for future debates. With this, it’s safe to say that the Amazon is arguably the longest river in the world.

9 It Is Unarguably The Largest River In The World By Volume Of Water

The debate regarding the longest river in the world may continue between the Nile and the Amazon but when it comes to volume (or size), the Amazon River has no rival. With an average discharge volume of 209,000 m3/s, it is the largest river in the world. This massive freshwater discharge of the Amazon River goes straight into the Atlantic Ocean, diluting the sea’s salinity for an area of approximately 2,500,000 km².

Related: What To Know Before Going On An Amazon River Cruise

8 The River Is Home To The Amazon River Dolphin

The Amazon River Dolphin is known for its massive growth and its unique pink color. This adult male species of this dolphin grows up to 2.5 m and accumulates a weight of 185 kg during its lifetime. This makes it the largest species of river dolphin in the world.

Related: The Best 20 Locations Around The World To Get Up Close And Personal With Dolphins

7 The Amazon River Spans Several Countries

The massive length and size of the Amazon River span several South American countries namely - Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela before ending in the Atlantic Ocean. The River Basin; however, is shared by nine countries with Brazil taking up 60%, Peru taking 13%, and Colombia taking 10%. The other countries which include - Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela take up the remaining 17%.

6 The Amazon River Once Flowed The Opposite Direction

At the moment, the Amazon River flows in an easterly direction into the Atlantic Ocean, but this was not always the case. In ancient times, several million years ago, the Amazon River flowed westward but this changed when a tilt in the earth caused a reversal in the river’s flow eastward. This fascinating change is believed to be the result of erosion and a series of geological occurrences that preceded the separation of the continents - Africa and South America.

5 The Amazon Rainforest Is The World’s Richest Tropical Forest In Terms Of Biodiversity

The Amazon Rainforest Occupies the drainage basin of the Amazon River and in terms of biodiversity, this massive rainforest is the richest in the world. The Amazon Rainforest hosts millions of insect species, 40,000 plant species, and 2000 birds and mammals and is also home to some 390 billion individual trees.

Related: 25 Things Hidden Deep Within The Amazon Forest That No One Knows About

4 The Name Was Taken From Greek Mythology

The name “Amazon” is a name in Greek Mythology used to identify a group of female warriors who fought alongside men in battle. The name was given to this mighty South American River by a man named - Francisco de Orellana. He was the first European explorer of this region and he got the idea after his expedition was attacked by a group of warriors led by women.

3 The Amazon River Is 11 Million Years Old

The mighty Amazon River has been around for a very long time. While its current form dates to 2.4 million years ago, research from two boreholes drilled near the river shows that this river originated as a transcontinental river some 11 million years ago. This makes the Amazon River pretty young when compared to many other rivers around the world that date as far back as 300 million years ago and more.

2 The Amazon River Originates In Peru

The Amazon River has many debates surrounding it. Its length is one while its origin is another. The river is so complicated that many sources have been designated its origin on different occasions from the Maranon River to the Ucayali River, and even Mismi Peak in the Andes of Peru. Just a few years ago, a group of authors claimed that the river’s true origin lies in the Mantaro River in Peru. Obviously, the Amazon River has different sources but since the Mantaro river is the most distant source, it has now been regarded as the mighty river’s main origin, although there are still debates surrounding this issue. Even though the river is known to have many sources, it is worth noting that they are all located in Peru.

1 There Are No Bridges Across The River

One would think that such a popular water body had a bridge that connected the land along the river’s edges to aid transportation but there isn’t. It’s just the river, trees, and endless views of the sky. The only way to get across the river is by boat and this lack of infrastructure helps the region retain its natural appeal.