Put Your Coat On: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including an intriguing one about humpback whales
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2016 5:18 AM CDT
This picture provided by the American Museum of Natural History shows a mural depicting Neanderthal life.   (AP Photo/American Museum of Natural History)

(Newser) – A surprisingly simple theory about Neanderthals and a possible explanation for the female orgasm make the list:

  • Neanderthals Doomed by Lack of Jackets: Justifying concerned mothers everywhere, a group of researchers believes Neanderthals could have survived the Ice Age if they'd just worn a dang jacket. Dozens of ancient campsites contain little evidence that Neanderthals ever figured out how to make cold-weather clothing. Humans, on the other hand, got the hang of it early, with one animal in particular playing a big role.
  • Researchers Get to the Bottom of the Female Orgasm: The role of the female orgasm has been a head-scratcher for centuries. Statistics show it's an "uncommon" occurrence during heterosexual intercourse, and the lack of correlation between orgasm and number of offspring deepen the mystery—which scientists at Yale and the Cincinnati Children's Hospital may have "solved." They think it has something to do with the way humans, and other mammals, do and do not ovulate.

  • Here's Why Amish Kids Don't Get Asthma as Often: You're probably less likely to see an Amish kid carrying around an inhaler, because they don't seem to get asthma as often as other kids—and researchers think it's because of the cows. In a new study, scientists theorize that microbes from dairy farms may provide protection. Cows aren't exactly a practical health solution, but researchers have an idea about how to apply the findings.
  • Humpbacks Save Other Animals From Orcas: Whale researchers say they've collected enough evidence to make a remarkable assertion: Humpback whales deliberately save other creatures from killer whales. The scientists collected 115 such accounts between 1951 and 2012, including one Hollywood-esque one involving a seal in peril.
  • Alaska's Woolly Mammoths Likely Died of Thirst: Some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths literally died of thirst, a new study suggests. The ancient animals were still living on a small island off the coast of Alaska until about 5,600 years ago—or around 5,000 years after most woolly mammoths had died off. The study concludes it was a lack of fresh water that finally did in the holdouts on St. Paul Island—and working against them were those enormous, hairy bodies.
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