5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including the decoding of the tsetse fly's genome
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2014 5:54 AM CDT
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

A perk of higher education you probably never knew existed and some talkative whales are on the list:

  • Education Helps You Recover From Brain Injury: College degrees may have an unexpected benefit: helping people recover from serious traumatic brain injury. A study of 769 adults found that a year after injury, 10% without a high school education had fully recovered, compared to 39% with a college degree. Those with advanced degrees fared even better. The study suggests that higher education helps brains "find ways around the damage" of an injury.
  • After 50 Years, Mysterious Ocean Quack Identified: A mysterious quacking noise in the ocean that has baffled scientists for decades has finally been identified, researchers say. Turns out, chatty minke whales are the culprits.

  • Deadly Fly's Strange Vulnerability: Its Breast Milk: Scientists have unraveled the genome of the tsetse fly after a 10-year effort, and the development could save Africa from the devastating effects of the fatal infection it carries known as sleeping sickness. One unusual avenue scientists are exploring is turning off the gene that controls the insect's production of breast milk.
  • Iron Curtain Still Exists—for Deer: Czech and German deer are way behind when it comes to international politics. The creatures won't cross the Czech border with what used to be West Germany, despite the fall of the Iron Curtain, a study of 300 red deer finds. What's strange is that electric border fences are long gone, and today's deer wouldn't have been alive to see them anyway.
  • Mystery of Missing Xenon Solved: Levels of the gas xenon in the Earth's atmosphere are way lower—to the tune of 90%—than scientists believe they should be, prompting a mystery one calls "the missing xenon paradox." While some believe the gas escaped into space, many have argued it's in the Earth's core—and now new research suggests the latter group is right.
Click for more discoveries, including one about a false alarm regarding the blood of Louis XVI. (More discoveries stories.)

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