discoveries

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Don't Blame Rats for Europe's Black Death

Human-carried parasites might be true culprits: study

(Newser) - Those poor, misjudged rats? According to infectious disease experts in Norway and Italy, rats aren't to blame for the spread of the Black Death, which has previously been referred to as the species' most infamous crime. In fact, humans might've been directly involved, reports the CBC . While studying... More »

Why Stopping a 150mph Sneeze Isn't Smart

UK patient ruptures throat, researchers warn about other possible damage that could result

(Newser) - It's said to be "exceedingly rare," but a study in the BMJ Case Reports journal documents the case of a 34-year-old UK man who showed up at a Leicester hospital complaining he was having a hard time swallowing, and that he felt a "popping sensation" in... More »

Has a Centuries-Old Aztec Mystery Been Solved?

An epidemic that killed millions could have been due to salmonella, per a new study

(Newser) - Can the teeth of 10 people solve a centuries-old mystery? According to a study published Monday in Nature Ecology and Evolution , perhaps. Its authors suggest that an epidemic that killed as many as 17 million people over the course of two outbreaks in the 16th century and had a hand... More »

Found in China: Dino With a 'Rainbow Glimmer'

Jurassic Period's 'Caihong juji' had shimmering feathers like those found on hummingbirds

(Newser) - Scientists are now saying there may have been "a more colorful Jurassic World than we previously imagined," thanks to the recent discovery of a fossil in China's Hebei province. Reuters reports that a closer look at the "exquisitely preserved," almost completely intact fossil of a... More »

Huge Glaciers Found Hiding Beneath Mars Surface

Scientists already knew they were there, but they've just seen them in a whole new light

(Newser) - Scientists already knew that water ice lurked below Mars' surface. But a new study published in the journal Science sheds new light on what Space.com calls "apparent glaciers," seen anew thanks to high-res imagery from the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Using this data,... More »

Surprising Find in Blackbeard's Cannon: Reading Material

Researchers find scraps of paper, figure out book they came from

(Newser) - Pirates of yore plundered, but they also read books, apparently. While cleaning sludge out of a cannon recovered from Blackbeard's flagship, scientists discovered bits of paper and were able to figure out the name of a book kept on board. The 16 fragments, each no bigger than a quarter,... More »

Rock Art Dating Back Millennia May Be More Than Just Art

Painting found in India could be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) sky charts ever found

(Newser) - We can't exactly chat with ancient humans about their lives, but their art gives us glimpses, and a new find in India sheds literal light on a cosmic event they may have witnessed. Quartz cites a new study in the Indian Journal of History of Science in which scientists... More »

That Bonobo That Likes You? It Really Thinks You're a Jerk

Scientists say this ape species appears to prefer 'hinderers' to 'helpers'

(Newser) - Scientists have long wondered about the "prosocial" activity of bonobos, noting how the apes appear to be more sharing and cooperative than other primates such as chimps, per the Los Angeles Times . But humans may still have them beat after a new study out of Duke University suggests bonobos... More »

No One Alive Had Ever Seen These Navy Artifacts ... Until Now

Dozens of 'vibrant' old flags captured by US Navy uncovered at Annapolis facility

(Newser) - The curator of the US Naval Academy Museum wasn't exactly sure what would be found: Records indicated five display boxes long used to exhibit captured British flags from the War of 1812 actually concealed more banners underneath. But not until all 61 banners were painstakingly removed in December for... More »

Student Discovers Sneaky New Octopus Species

'Frilled giant Pacific octopus' has avoided detection until now

(Newser) - The world has a new octopus: Meet the "frilled giant Pacific octopus," newly detected by a student at Alaska Pacific University working on his senior thesis, reports Earther . The creature resembles the familiar giant Pacific octopus, but Nathan Hollenback not only laid out some distinctive visual differences but... More »

Scientists Document Monkeys Trying to Have Sex With Deer

Behavior was documented in Minoo, Japan

(Newser) - It was a "single anecdotal event" that surprised scientists and the internet: A male snow monkey was documented trying to have sexual relations with a sika deer in Japan. It turns out it wasn't so singular. A study published Dec. 11 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior establishes... More »

Australian Sub 'on Eternal Patrol Since 1914' Is Found

HMAS AE-1 found off Papua New Guinea's Duke of York Islands

(Newser) - Thirteenth time's the charm. The first Allied submarine lost in World War I, and Australia's first sub lost ever, has finally been found on the 13th search mission for a vessel that vanished more than a century ago. The HMAS AE-1 was spotted by an underwater drone in... More »

These Fish Are So Loud While Getting It On It's Deafening

Racket of mating Gulf corvina is so loud it could damage hearing of dolphins, say researchers

(Newser) - A type of Mexican fish heads every spring to the Gulf of California to spawn—and their "reproductive orgies," as the AFP puts it, are so loud they can damage hearing in other marine life. A pair of studies from the same researchers, one published in June in... More »

Ancient Penguins Were Much Bigger Than Modern Ones

Kumimanu biceae stretched out to nearly 6 feet while swimming

(Newser) - Fossils from New Zealand have revealed a giant penguin that was as big as a grown man, roughly the size of the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, per the AP . The creature was slightly shorter in length and about 20 pounds heavier than the official stats for hockey star Sidney... More »

Huntington's Drug Hailed as Potential Disease-Ender

But trials of Ionis-HTTRx are in very early stages

(Newser) - How big could a potential new drug for Huntington's disease be? The BBC puts it this way: "Experts say it could be the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years." The news is preliminary—full trial results should be published in 2018—but early indications are... More »

Earth's Hum Heard as Never Before

Scientists capture it on ocean floor for the first time

(Newser) - The Earth hums , and scientists have for the first time recorded the sound in the ocean. Using seismometers in the Indian Ocean, researchers picked up on the sound that is way, way too low for mere human ears to hear, reports Live Science . No recording is available, but a Columbia... More »

7 of the Oldest Things on the Planet

In their respective category, that is

(Newser) - When it comes to crunching data, 24/7 Wall St. has given us everything from the drunkest states to the most expensive places to divorce . Now, a list with a much less current bent. It's pored over scientific journals, record-keeping groups, newspapers, and other sources to come up with a... More »

Grave Found on Shipwreck Island: 'Lord of the Flies Stuff'

Beacon Island, site of 1629 massacre, gives up more bodies

(Newser) - Beacon Island off the western coast of Australia is better known as Murder Island or Batavia's Graveyard. The reason is simple: After the Dutch East India ship Batavia ran aground on a nearby reef in 1629, 282 survivors made it to Beacon Island, where at least 115 of them... More »

Blood Test Could Tell Women if Breast Cancer Will Return

Study holds promising results for an early warning of relapse

(Newser) - A blood test five years after breast cancer treatment helped identify some women who were more likely to relapse, long before a lump or other signs appeared, a preliminary study found. It was the largest experiment so far to use these tests, called liquid biopsies, for breast cancer. Results suggest... More »

Rarest of Rare Discoveries: a Swimming Dinosaur

It's believed to be only the 2nd swimming dinosaur ever found

(Newser) - The dinosaur was the size of a turkey and had a neck like a swan, teeth like a crocodile, forelimbs similar to a penguin's flippers, and clawed feet ideal for use on land. It's such a strange assortment of features that researchers who identified the new species from... More »

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