A wave of historic proportions and news about reindeer were among the discoveries to make headlines this week:
- 'Remarkable' Wave Makes Record Book: In 2013, a cold front moved across the North Atlantic between Britain and Iceland, and a buoy logged what researchers now say is a "remarkable" thing: a wave 62.3 feet high. That happens to be the tallest wave ever measured by a buoy, a significant distinction because it's both precise and verifiable. A ship in the same area reported one of an even crazier height about a dozen years earlier.
- Why Men Have No Penis Bone: Monkeys have them. In walruses, they might be up to two feet long. Mice have teeny, tiny ones. So why don't human males have a penis bone? Scientists have a theory, and gentlemen, it might hurt your ego a bit: Because human sex is relatively speedy, the bone wasn't really necessary. There is, however, another explanation that has more to do with culture than stamina.
- Santa's Reindeer Are Shrinking: Santa might need to recruit a few extra reindeer this year. According to Scottish scientists, Arctic reindeer are shrinking in size. Scientists weighed 135 reindeer on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, about 800 miles from the North Pole, each April from 1994 to 2015 and found the animals shrank from 121 pounds on average to 106 pounds over the study period—a 12% decrease in body mass. They blame warming temperatures, but one quirk is that if temperatures continue to rise, that might allow the reindeer to fatten up again.
- Renowned Astronomer Was Full of Gold: Tycho Brahe was an unusual man. The Danish astronomer from the late 1500s who laid the foundation for modern astronomy was extremely wealthy, had a pet moose, and according to a new analysis of his hair and bones, was also—literally—full of gold. He had up to 100 times the levels of someone today, possibly from cutlery or drinking vessels, or his lab work. While intriguing, the discovery leaves his cause of death, much speculated upon over the years, a mystery.
- Lengthy Marriage May Raise Stroke Survival: A leading cause of death and disability in the US, strokes affect nearly 800,000 adults every year. Now researchers are showing for the first time that current and past marital status can play a big role in survival rates following a stroke. After tracking the outcomes of more than 2,300 stroke survivors for five years, researchers say that people who'd never married were 71% more likely to have died than stroke patients in lengthy, "continuous" marriages. Divorced patients also fared worse. The reason might be surprisingly simple.
Click to read about more discoveries
. (Read more discoveries