Heavy News: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including possible 'hobbit' murder
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2016 6:15 AM CDT
Time to cut back.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A fish on "crutches" and a worrisome obesity update make the list:

  • World's Obese Outnumber the Underweight: Researchers say that over the last 40 years, the number of obese people worldwide has ballooned and the obese now outnumber the underweight. The proportion of obese people worldwide stands at 11% among men and 15% among women, while 9% of men and 10% of women are underweight. If current trends continue, a startling stat will be true within a decade.
  • Humans May Have Killed Off Real-Life Hobbits: New research suggests it's possible ancient humans are responsible for killing off Indonesia's hobbits. A new study finds that Homo floresiensis—who averaged 3.5 feet tall and 75 pounds—died off right around the time humans showed up in the area. But it's not just their deaths that are mysterious.

  • Sea Levels Set to Rise Much Faster Than Expected: Warmer air, less-frigid water, and gravity may combine to make parts of Antarctica's western ice sheet melt far faster than scientists had thought, raising sea levels much more than expected by the end of the century. Computer simulations forecast dramatic increases in melting, and the worst-case scenario ... doesn't look good. "North America has a lot to fear," one scientist warns.
  • 'Missing Link' Fish Found in Slimy Cave: According to evolutionary theory, something must have crawled from the sea onto land hundreds of millions of years ago, but what? How about a blind fish called Cryptotora thamicola, which uses four fins like crutches to wriggle up waterfalls and across slimy rocks. It's still crawling around today.
  • Vegetarian Ancestors Affect Your Cancer Risk: People who come from a line of mostly plant eaters likely carry a gene mutation used to help compensate for a lack of essential fatty acids from meat or fish, say researchers. The problem is that those who have the mutation—including nearly 20% of Americans—can hurt their bodies if their diets aren't in sync with that of their ancestors. And that has serious health implications.
Click to read about more discoveries. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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