A Blue Wonder: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including a rare new whale species
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2016 5:10 AM CDT
A Blue Wonder: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
   (An image of the blue hole in the South China Sea. (YouTube/CCTV screenshot))

A new "blue hole" and a long royal mystery solved are among the most intriguing discoveries of the week:

  • There's a New Whale Species, and It's a Big One: When a 24-foot whale carcass washed up on the beach of a remote Alaskan island, a researcher was pretty sure it was a dark version of a Baird's beaked whale. A new study, however, has revealed it to be an entirely new whale species. One specimen was found in the strangest place of all: a high school gym.
  • Planet's Deepest 'Blue Hole' Has Been Found: "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 Bahamas—has been relegated to second place. The new No .1 is in the South China Sea, and it's No. 1 by a lot.

  • Blood-Stained Leaves Hold Truth of King Albert's Death: 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 his valet to wait in the car. Alone, the king fell to his death, and those leaves help prove it, once and for all.
  • Archaeologists Make Surprise Find Under Mayan Temple: When researchers grew concerned about underground anomalies detected near the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico, they began a dig to figure out whether the pyramid was in danger of collapse. This week, researchers announced that what they found was no anomaly but rather a small canal system. It seems a ruler's tomb was built atop a natural spring, and water tunnels were added for a very specific, even supernatural, reason.
  • Being Out of Shape Nearly as Deadly as Smoking: Being physically unfit is more damaging to living a long life than everything except smoking, according to a newly published study. In this case, it's all about aerobic capacity, and those who fared poorly in the category had strikingly higher death rates.
Click to read about more discoveries. (More discoveries stories.)

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