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Why is it almost impossible to determine the longest river on Earth?

Even the internet seems confused.

You know which is the longest river in the world? If you don’t, you’re not alone. People waver between the Nile River in Africa, the Amazon River in South America, the Yangtze River in Asia and the Mississippi River in North America.

Even the internet seems confused. Wikipedia, NASA and the Guinness World Record say the Nile is the longest river, while Google and the History Channel point to the Amazon. Why the confusion?

Because it is difficult to measure rivers by river. Take the Mississippi River, for example. There is the Jefferson River and the Missouri River that lead to it. If you consider these two rivers to be part of the Mississippi River, then you triple its length. But are they part of the Mississippi River? How is it possible that in the 21st century we still have no way to measure rivers accurately?

Well, that’s partly because rivers also change their course over time. What should be considered when measuring the length of the river? How can we get more accurate measures? And what is the longest river in the world? This video explores all of these questions and is as close as possible to the answers to them.





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