5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including the rediscovery of a long-lost snake

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted May 24, 2014 5:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – A theory that Spanish conquerers left their mark on Peru in a way they never imagined and an intriguing discovery about married couples are on the list:

  • Spanish Conquest Literally Changed Peru's Shape: The coming of the Spanish conquistadors changed Peru's shape forever—literally, according to researchers who say sand ridges stopped forming along the northern coast after the Incas were forced out or killed. How so? The key is all those mollusk shells the Incas once discarded on the beach.
  • You and Your Spouse May Have Similar DNA: You may have more in common with your spouse than you think—like DNA, a new study suggests. The upshot is that married couples were indeed more genetically similar than two randomly chosen individuals.

  • Mysterious Illness Blows In From China: A potential big step forward in discovering the cause of a childhood heart disease so mysterious that it was referred to as GOK—short for "God only knows"—for the decade after its 1961 identification: Scientists now believe that the agent that causes Kawasaki disease, most prevalent in Japan, is spread from northeastern China by the wind.
  • Entirely New Order of Animal Discovered: Researchers creating a catalog-like "tree of life" for sea anemones discovered an entirely new kind of animal among them. Turns out that a creature that lives near deep sea thermal vents in the Pacific and had been considered a giant sea anemone really isn't.
  • Nightsnake 'Lost' for Decades is Found: The Clarion nightsnake is hard to spot, so hard to spot that for decades, the only sighting of the species native to one of Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands—the original sighting—was assumed to be a mistake. A joint US-Mexico team, however, managed to disprove the naysayers.
Click to read about more discoveries.

Discarded shells may have literally changed the coastline of Peru, scientists say.
Discarded shells may have literally changed the coastline of Peru, scientists say.   (Shutterstock)
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