How many oceans are there? WRONG!


My twins came home today proud of their performance on a test of continents and oceans.

They said they got all seven continents and five oceans correct.

“Four oceans,” I said possessing a college degree.

“No, Daddy. Five oceans.” They said being seven-year-olds. “The Atlantic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean. The Indian Ocean. The Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.”



What the fuck is a Southern Ocean?!

So here my brain starts to twitch because I’ve got two kids in two separate classes telling me there are five oceans when my head is yelling at me that there’s only four. But I’ve also had enough to drink since 4th grade geography to question my own memory. So, I let it go until I get home. Then…


And, it says there are FIVE oceans: the four the whole world grew up with and some shit called the Southern Ocean.

How did I not know about this? You’d think that a discovery of a whole new ocean would warrant some kind of news story. They’d put the grizzled sea captain up on YouTube scurvy and all to tell the harrowing tale of how he and his crew, despite the rickets, discovered a whole friggin’ ocean we didn’t know about. That couldn’t be.

Upon further internetting I found that I’m not crazy. There was no Southern Ocean…until 2000. And it wasn’t discovered, pioneered or ventured into, it was just made up from parts of the Atlantic and Pacific.

Why did we need another ocean? To make us look stupid in front of our kids, that’s why.

That’s why Pluto isn’t a planet.

That’s why Indigo is no longer a part of the light spectrum.

And that’s why math now looks like a logic problem from the back of a MENSA kid’s meal instead of fucking math. 

We didn’t need another ocean.

And now I look stupid.

Thanks again, Science.



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  • reply Matthew Smith ,

    Indigo isn’t part of the light spectrum ?!!!??? My brain hurts. The world is upside down, I tell you what…

    • reply Terry ,

      Holy crap – I had no idea either that there was a fifth ocean AND didn’t know about indigo.

      • reply sher ,

        second that

        • reply Ray L ,

          Haha, nice. I found this article while looking up the same thing. I wonder why this wasn’t a big news story in 2000? Shouldn’t adults be kept aware of things like this, so we can teach our children the current standards?

          I seriously never heard of the Southern Ocean until my kids brought it up earlier. At least they were understanding; they were actually amazed by the fact I grew up being taught 4 oceans lol.

          But really, reclassifying the ocean boundaries to add an additional ocean seem like actual “news”. I wonder what tabloid scandals this info got lost between.

          • reply Vanessa ,

            This JUST happened to me

            • reply stephanie ,

              This just happened to me. Supposedly since 2000…I graduated high school in 2005 and I did NOT learn about a southern ocean! Apparently a while back when I saw it on a McDonald’s kid bag and complained about it misteaching our youth I wasn’t the only one because my friends agreed with me! Ugh.

              • reply Kelsey ,

                So I’m only 22, in 2000 I was just getting into school, maybe 1st or 2nd grade and I was NEVER taught about the “Southern Ocean” all the way up until now. It is extremely weird. The first time I had ever even heard of it was the other day I was playing a quiz game and it said something about what ocean is below Australia, I hesitated between Indian and Pacific, but I think I settled on Indian and it came up with Southern Ocean…. what the heck?! So I assumed it was some kind of thing that isn’t widely accepted, and the quiz game was based in the UK so I thought hey maybe they call the Indian Ocean the “Southern Ocean”. Anyway I was researching the Mandela effect today and it was saying something about how there were 5 oceans and I’m like tbh you’re wrong. And I just googled “how many oceans are there” and everything is saying five. WHAT DO YOU MEAN. Why did no one say “hey yeah just so you know we’re actually going to make this body of water a 5th ocean all in itself”. It’s astonishing to me.

                • reply deb ,

                  If you need a good laugh – I went to school in the 1960’s. At that time there were 5 oceans. Antarctic Ocean was the 5th ocean – I guess that is now the southern ocean. I had the same thing happen to me. My sons came home in the 90’s and told me there were only 4 oceans.

                  • reply Connie ,

                    When I went to school in the seventies, we were taught there were five oceans. They were the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and the Antarctic. I recently picked up a book stating four oceans and decided to “Google” it and found that the Antarctic is now referred to as the Southern. I also found out that certain countries only recognize four oceans while others recognize five.

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