5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including a 'stunning' brain find and pot-smoking foragers
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2015 6:00 AM CDT
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
The human brain—the gift that keeps on giving.   (Shutterstock)

A glacial mystery solved and a shipwreck first make the list:

  • Discovery of Hidden Vessel in Brain Called 'Stunning': And "dazzling," and "landmark." The revelation by a UVA researcher of a lymphatic vessel in a mouse's brain—a vessel that's not supposed to be there—suggests our brains are directly connected to our immune system. Scientists explain why "they'll have to change the textbooks" and what this could mean for people with MS and Alzheimer's.
  • Mystery of Vanishing Glacial Lakes Solved: For years, scientists have known glacial lakes can rapidly empty themselves of billions of gallons of water—in at least one case, faster than the speed at which water flows over Niagara Falls. Now they finally know how it's done—and why some lakes crack and others don't. What helped them solve the mystery: GPS units.

  • How Pygmy Foragers' Rampant Pot Use May Protect Them: An anthropology team analyzed Aka hunter-gatherers in the Central African Republic and found that about 70% of the men and 6% of the women smoked marijuana. Scientists say these "pygmy" foragers be unconsciously protecting themselves from one of the developing world's biggest health issues—in their intestines.
  • A Grim, First-of-its-Kind Shipwreck Discovery: The wreckage of a ship has been found off the coast of South Africa, where it sank in 1794—the first sunken slave ship ever found. The Portuguese Sao Jose-Paquete de Africa set out from Mozambique Island with more than 400 slaves, bound for Brazil's sugar plantations, but it fell well short of the 7,000-mile journey. Here's what scientists found to convince them they had the right vessel.
  • Gay Couples Are Doing This Better: In traditional opposite-sex relationships, most women still do the vast majority of chores. For same-sex couples, though, there isn't the traditional gender-based division of labor to fall back on, so chores are more often shared, says a survey from the Families and Work Institute. But does this chore-sharing equate to significantly greater happiness among more collaborative couples? Not necessarily.
Click to read about more discoveries. (More discoveries stories.)

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