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Dino Surprise: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Also: the return of the 'psychedelic slinky'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2016 5:15 AM CST
Dino Surprise: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
A feathered dinosaur tail preserved in amber.   (RC McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

(Newser) – A first-of-its-kind discovery about dinosaurs in a most unusual place and a potentially scary study for those who groom "down there" make the list:

  • Scientists Find Dinosaur Tail Preserved in Amber: Researchers were perusing an amber market in Myanmar when they stumbled across a truly extraordinary specimen. Trapped inside a golden piece of amber—already partially shaped to be sold as jewelry—was a fully feathered section of a dinosaur's tail. The seller thought it was some kind of plant. This the first time feathers have been found perfectly preserved and attached to what is unmistakably a dinosaur, and scientists hope Myanmar will yield a bigger dinosaur find in the near future.
  • Study Suggests You Should Leave Your Pubic Hair Alone: People who groom their pubic hair regularly are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection, say researchers. The grooming itself may play a role, perhaps because shaving causes small tears in the skin, but it's also possible it's a mere correlation: People who groom down there may be more sexually active to begin with. Either way, the study sheds light on the practice—and the most popular methods.
  • Smoke Just a Little Bit? It'll Still Kill You: Those who have just a few cigarettes per week may think they're safe from the health risks of smoking, but a new study suggests otherwise. While people who smoke between one and 10 cigarettes a day have an 87% higher risk of earlier death compared to those who've never smoked, people who average less than one cigarette a day still have a 64% higher risk. One trait of low-intensity smokers may play a role.

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  • 'Psychedelic Slinky' Spotted for First Time in a Century: In 1899, a marine biologist came across a see-through "sea blob" in the southern Atlantic, and its existence hasn't been confirmed since—until now. Live Science reports on the Bathochordaeus charon invertebrate (what it describes as a "psychedelic Slinky"), spotted off the California coast by a remotely operated sub. The discovery is a vindication of sorts.
  • Giraffes Are in Serious Trouble: No one used to pay much mind to the giraffes that roamed Africa. But new numbers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature show a significant decline in their population over the past three decades and have conservationists worried that the elegant creature is falling victim to what one expert calls a "silent extinction." In 1985, there were between 152,000 and 163,000 giraffes, but that number dropped to 97,000 by 2015. Most of the blame falls on a fellow mammal.
Click to read about more discoveries. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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