Brawny Neanderthals, Walking Fish and More: Editor's Picks

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Above, you’ll see some of the top images of the week. Click on each one to explore the story behind it.

If you were too busy powering your air conditioner this week to turn on your computer, here’s a list of the must-read Discovery News stories published this week that you may have missed:

5. There’s Gold in Them Thar… Oceans!

Now we all know what happens when we drill for oil in our oceans. Skilled engineers stick a big tube in the ocean floor, which sucks crude oil up to the surface, and everything’s hunky dory, right? (I know it’s a bit technical, but try to keep up.)

But what about mining for gold? The Chinese government is investing in technology to mine underwater resources and has submitted its first application for permission to mine a hydrothermal vent system in the Indian Ocean, located at a depth of over 5,000 feet.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about deep-sea natural resource collection in the past year, it’s that nothing ever goes wrong — ever.

4. Russian Spy Swap: How It’s Done

The 10 people recently arrested on charges of spying for Russia have landed in Moscow today following an arranged spy swap.

The exchange is the first of its kind in the post-Cold War era, and is intended as a gesture to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

It’s not exactly the NFL, but spy swaps are definitely in their own league. But how exactly do governments go about trading spies? Find out here.

3. Science of Evil: Depravity Scale Ranks Crimes

Which is worse: Burning down a building or robbing a bank? Stealing a car or attacking a stranger?

Forensic experts are trying to rank crimes using what they call the “Depravity Scale” to better inform judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and juries when it comes to handing down sentences.

If you want to play judge, jury and executioner (sort of, not really), then hop over to www.depravityscale.org to take a survey about how you think different crimes rank.

2. So You Want To Be A Time Traveler?

Yes, Dr. Who can do it. So can Dr. Emmett Brown. Even Mr. Peabody can travel back in time, and he’s just a cartoon dog without a Ph.D.

Time travel may not yet be possible outside of fiction, but there are no laws of physics that would indicate it is impossible.

So if time travel could be a reality, what exactly is stopping us? The short answer: technology. Read the full story to get the long answer by clicking on the headline above.

1. Long Lost Michelangelo Sculpture Found?

This sandstone sculpture may be the work of the famous Renaissance artist, according to an Italian scholar.

Thought to be a forgery due to its missing nose, a common feature of forgeries of works of art, a review of historical texts reveals the sculpture was likely created by Michelangelo himself.

The sculpture, known as the “Arrotino,” is actually a copy of an ancient Greek statue, though Michelangelo added his own touch on the piece to make it his own.

Michelangelo, in fact, was not above making forgeries himself. He once carved a marble cupid, buried it for a time to make it seem older than it was, and sold it as an ancient sculpture to a dealer.

Those were my picks for the must-read stories. Here is a list of the most popular stories of the week:

5. Extinct ‘Welded Beast’ Found in Tennessee Swimming Pool

Jim Leyden may not have his swimming pool yet, but the remains of a probable Gomphotherium, also known as a “welded beast,” were discovered on his property. After all, with this heat, who wouldn’t prefer the fossil remains of an extinct animal to a pool?

4. Horses Understand Humans, Sort Of

Horses may not be much for conversation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand what we’re trying to communicate. Depending on how they’re trained, horses may even be able to interpret visual and auditory cues from humans as well as dogs.

3. Black Hole Blows Huge Bubble: Big Pic

A relatively puny black hole in a neighbor galaxy has blown a big, cosmic bubble. The bubble of hot gas already spans 1,000 light-years across and is growing at a rate of about 620,000 miles per hour.

2. Fish Found Walking in Gulf Spill

Two new species of pancake batfish, flat, oval-shaped fish that walk along the ocean floor on their fins, have been found near the Gulf oil spill. The discovery begs the question: How many other species unknown to science have also been affected by this disaster?

1. Neanderthal Males Had Popeye-Like Arms

Neanderthals were totally diesel, according to a new study that may or may not have employed that term. Neanderthals males had unusually strong upper arms, particularly on the right side — a result of unique hormonal status partly due to an all-meat diet.

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