Biblical Surprise: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including another about van Gogh's famous ear
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2016 5:12 AM CDT
This photo shows archeologists excavating an ancient Phillstine cemetery near Ashkelon, Israel.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

(Newser) – A potentially major discovery about the infamous Philistines and another that may change your view of dinosaurs were among the most notable of the week:

  • Huge Find Could Reveal the Truth About Goliath's People: Out of Israel comes a major find related to the little-known Philistines, some of the Hebrew Bible's "most notorious villains," including Goliath. The find? Actual bodies of Philistines, a rarity, at an ancient burial site near Tel Aviv. What we currently know of the Philistines comes mostly from their enemies, notes one scientist. This find could change that, and perhaps tell us where they came from.
  • 1930 Sketch May Reveal Truth of van Gogh Mutilation: An amateur historian says a secret detail about Vincent van Gogh has for decades sat in the archives of one of his biographers. Berrnadette Murphy uncovered a 1930 meeting between author Irving Stone and van Gogh's physician during which the doctor sketched an illustration of the injury van Gogh inflicted on his left ear in 1888. It suggests the artist cut off nearly his entire ear, not just the earlobe as long thought—and it may have have been an unusual gift to an unusual recipient.

  • What Roar? Dinosaurs May Have Cooed: A new study suggests that mighty dinosaurs didn't roar, contrary to every dinosaur movie you've ever seen. Instead, they made a decidedly less scary sound called a "closed-mouth vocalization." Think of a dove cooing or an ostrich making ostrich noises. You can click the link to hear the latter, which might be a closer approximation to dino sounds than anything in Jurassic Park.
  • Go Ahead, Suck Your Thumb: Kids who suck their thumbs or bite their nails past preschool age may drive their parents crazy, but at least the habits appear to incur a health benefit: a reduced risk of allergies. So report researchers in a new study, one that also suggests this protection lasts a surprisingly long time.
  • Flying East Is a Pain for Your Brain: A flight from Paris to New York is easier on the brain than one from New York to Paris, according to a new study that finds jet lag is based not only on distance traveled, but also on the direction of travel. Anecdotal evidence had long suggested as much, but now researchers have a mathematical model to back it up.
Click to read about more discoveries.