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There's a New Whale Species, and It's a Big One

24-foot 'raven' beaked whale found in Alaskan waters led to discovery of new species

(Newser) - When a 24-foot whale carcass washed up on the beach of a remote Alaskan island in 2014, a researcher was pretty sure it was a dark version of a Baird's beaked whale, National Geographic reports. But per a new study published in Marine Mammal Science , it was an entirely... More »

Planet's Deepest 'Blue Hole' Has Been Found

Scientists announce discovery in South China Sea

(Newser) - "Blue holes" are mystifying to look at, the large, deep pits appearing a shade of blue that's just as deep and in stark contrast to the shallow waters around them. And what we've long considered the planet's deepest—the 663-foot Dean's Blue Hole in the... More »

This Is Where Your Earliest Ancestor Came From

'LUCA' likely arose near deep-sea vents, says study

(Newser) - The first name on your family tree—in fact, on the family tree of every living creature—should technically be LUCA. As the New York Times explains, the acronym stands for the Last Universal Common Ancestor, an organism that lived about 4 billion years ago and became the ancestor of... More »

Nasty Parasite in Cat Poo May Be a Cancer Fighter

In mice, it fights ovarian tumors

(Newser) - Again and again, research on the parasite toxoplasma gondii, commonly found in cat feces, reveals just how nasty and widespread it is. It's linked to rage disorder , might boost one's risk of schizophrenia and other mental disorders, and in an odd and probably fatal twist, makes the mice... More »

Blood-Stained Leaves Hold Truth of King Albert's Death

Forensic geneticist says DNA analysis disproves 'mise-en-scene' theories

(Newser) - As far as souvenirs go, they were gory ones: bloodied leaves and stones collected during the wee hours of Feb. 18, 1934, by Belgian villagers who lived near Marche-les-Dames. King Albert I had set off on a solo climb amid the area's 600-foot-tall peaks on the 17th, having instructed... More »

A New Blue: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including a big new leap in brain research

(Newser) - A cool new color and helpful information for those who indulge in marijuana were among the notable discoveries of the week:
  • Chemists Stumble Onto First New Blue in 200 Years : A professor and students at Oregon State inadvertently discovered a striking new shade of blue in the lab while trying
... More »

New Theory May Explain Mrs. Lincoln's Odd Behavior

Doctor thinks Mary Todd Lincoln suffered a vitamin deficiency

(Newser) - She's been described as perhaps the most troubled first lady to set foot in the White House, with fearsome moods, depression, and paranoia. Now a doctor says he may have uncovered the secret to Mary Todd Lincoln's behavior: a vitamin deficiency. Interestingly, this latest theory in Perspectives in ... More »

Scientists Map 97 New Areas of the Human Brain

'A huge leap in neuroscience'

(Newser) - It's not quite the leap from an 18th-century atlas to Google Maps, but it's close. The Verge reports scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have created a new map of the human brain that includes 97 areas never before identified. They published their findings Wednesday in Nature... More »

In Ancient Scottish Chapel, Evidence of a Witch Prison

Aberdeen church has an iron ring set in stone

(Newser) - The remains of some 2,000 people lie beneath Scotland's East Kirk of St. Nicholas church, but an iron ring set in the stone pillar of the chapel could link directly back to a spookier past: the documented trial and execution of 23 women and one man accused of... More »

Chemists Stumble on First New Blue in 200 Years

Pigment also makes possible a new spectrum of colors that could be mixed using it

(Newser) - Back in 2009, a materials science professor and his students were, in a sense, playing with fire in a lab at Oregon State University—well, mixing chemicals and heating them to temperatures above 2,000 degrees anyway—when they accidentally created a new blue. The happy accident occurred during an... More »

Whales Grieve for Their Young Like Human Parents

'They know something is wrong': study co-author

(Newser) - Whales are known for their intelligence —and now they may become known for their emotions and parental instincts, too. A study in the Journal of Mammalogy has found that at least seven species of toothed whales—including killer, sperm, and short-finned pilot whales, as well as four dolphin varieties—... More »

Scientists Determine How Much Pot Is in a Joint

It's less than past estimates

(Newser) - "Of course I know how to roll a joint," said Martha Stewart in 2013. But if she did it properly, how much pot would she use? A new study attempts to answer that question. Reporting in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence , the researchers point out that the... More »

Biblical Surprise: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including another about van Gogh's famous ear

(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
... More »

Our Taste in Music Is More Nurture Than Nature

Love or hate Bjork? Bach? Study refutes idea that preferences are hardwired

(Newser) - There's no accounting for taste—but if you want to blame anything on how you were raised, your taste in music could rank up there, a new study suggests. In music, chords can be broken down into many categories, two of which are called "consonant" and "dissonant.... More »

A 'Startling' First in Zika Transmission

Woman sexually transmits the virus to man

(Newser) - The first case of a woman sexually transmitting the Zika virus to a man is now in the books. Before the New York City case occurred, officials believed only males could transmit the virus sexually (either to women or to other men). But then, the CDC reports, a man developed... More »

Cocaine, Meth Can Mess With Your Morals

Stimulant use is particularly prevalent in criminal populations, researchers say

(Newser) - Which comes first, the hard drugs or the criminal behavior? Researchers asked essentially that in a study just published in the journal Psychopharmacology in which they investigate whether cocaine and meth use might hamper moral judgment on a neurological level. The short answer is probably, though further research is required.... More »

Flying East Is a Pain for Your Brain

Biological clock prefers a longer day achieved by flying west: study

(Newser) - 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 the direction of travel. In the journal Chaos , researchers from the University of... More »

1930 Sketch May Reveal Truth of van Gogh's Mutilation

Van Gogh's doctor sketched the injury decades after he treated the artist

(Newser) - An amateur historian says a secret detail about Vincent van Gogh has for decades sat in the archives of the writer who tackled the artist's life in the acclaimed 1934 fictionalized biography Lust for Life. In what a press release describes as "seven years of meticulous research,"... More »

What Roar? Some Dinosaurs Likely Cooed

They perhaps made 'closed-mouth vocalizations' like birds

(Newser) - Dinosaurs may have been much more like modern birds than we knew—and not just because some had feathers . A new study suggests that mighty dinosaurs of yore didn't roar, contrary to every dinosaur movie you've ever seen. Instead, they made a decidedly less scary sound called a... More »

Go Ahead, Suck Your Thumb

Study finds kids who do have fewer allergies

(Newser) - 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 showing that the protective effect lasts into adulthood. Their findings... More »

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