5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including a rodent with superhero senses
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2014 5:21 AM CST
Stock image   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An incredibly old turtle and one of the most annoyingly popular songs of the 1990s make the list:

  • 'Punxsutawney Phil on Steroids' Is Unearthed: A beefy rodent with superhero sight and ultra-sensitive hearing? Meet the "humongous" 20-pound Vintana sertichi, a mammal fossil from the dinosaur era recently found by accident in a giant slab of sandstone in Madagascar. There are other reasons why this eccentric creature was so special.
  • Hiker Stumbles Onto Extremely Old Turtle: More than 10 years ago, Jeff Dornbusch was hiking in the New Mexico desert when he saw a weird pile of gray rocks. He wasn't able to find it again till 2012, when scientists discovered it was actually much more than a pile of rocks: It was a Cretaceous-era turtle that existed between 65 million to 146 million years ago. The process to remove it was delicate and exacting.

  • Old Stone Circles Baffle Archaeologists: Archaeologists have no clue why these huge structures in Jordan exist (most of them are about 1,300 feet in diameter), but the "Big Circles" date back 2,000 years or more and have no openings. Whoever created the circles kind of messed up in a crucial way.
  • Scientific Study Determines Catchiest Hit Song Ever: Some songs become earworms, some don't. But according to musicologists at the University of Amsterdam, there's one song that will burrow its way into your brain more than any other: the 1996 hit "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. You probably won't be able to get any of the others in the top 10 out of your head, either.
  • Elusive Animal Spotted in Afghanistan: "Cryptic," "difficult to spot," and hard to photograph is how researchers describe a creature that hasn't been seen in Afghanistan since 1948: the musk deer. Despite frightening-looking fangs that they use to fight for mates, the deer are only 2 feet tall and are considered a "living treasure." Poachers want them for their own lucrative reasons.
Click to read about more discoveries, including how men who sleep with more than 20 women might be at less risk for a particular cancer.