24 greatest discoveries of 2015 from Swiss cheese holes to a new cancer source

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Scientists Discover Why Swiss Cheese Has Holes... Only Now?

Despite not having flying cars like "Back to the Future" predicted, humans made quite a few discoveries in 2015 that helped rewrite how we understand the universe.

Many of the breakthrough studies revealed new information about food. Healthy eaters rejoiced when scientists discovered a type of seaweed that is more nutritious than kale, but tastes just like bacon. The age-old mystery of why Swiss cheese has its trademark holes was finally cracked when it was revealed that hay particles mixed into the milk causes the gaps to develop.

On a less happy food note, the World Health Organization experts found that eating processed and red meats (like bacon) everyday led to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

New technology allowed researchers to learn more about ancient sites discovered many years earlier. Scientists announced earlier this month that they'd found new evidence suggesting that the rocks of Stonehenge were mined in Wales, not its current location in England.

Indiana Jones fans were thrilled when researchers discovered what could possibly be a hidden chamber in King Tut's tomb. Radar scans registered different temperatures on walls within the mausoleum, reinforcing the theory that untouched rooms may lie behind.

We learned a bit more about our animal friends too, and it turns out calling pets "fur babies" may not be as silly as it sounds. Scientists found that when humans and dogs look into each other's eyes they release oxytocin, the same hormone that bonds parents and their human babies.

Undoubtedly the biggest scientific breakthrough of 2015 came when NASA's New Horizons approached Pluto to get detailed snapshots of dwarf planet.

Take a look at all of 2015's biggest breakthroughs that got people talking:

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24 greatest discoveries of 2015 from Swiss cheese holes to a new cancer source

Miners in Botswana discovered the second-largest gem-quality diamond ever found. The stone is the biggest diamond to be discovered in more than a century. Clocking in at 1,111 carats, it's a size that makes Kim Kardashian's 15-carat ring look like a dinky toy you win out of a vending machine.

Read more here.

Photo: Lucara Diamond

Scientists have finally figured out how the key gene tied to obesity makes people fat, a major discovery that could open the door to an entirely new approach to the problem beyond diet and exercise.

Read more here

Photo: Alamy

A French scientist claims he found another portrait painted beneath the one we see today, and that woman is the real Lisa referenced in the name.

Read more here.

Photo: AP

Sunscreen might be protecting you from harmful UV rays, but its use by swimmers is likely damaging the world's already-threatened coral reefs.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Eating processed meats like hot dogs, sausages or bacon can lead to bowel cancer in humans and red meat is a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Swiss cheese is one of the easier kinds to identify, thanks to it being riddled with holes. What has remained harder to pin down, however, is how the spaces end up there in the first place. After about a century of research, scientists have finally figured out what causes them. It's hay. 

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Researchers say they've discovered the first known fully warm-blooded fish. It's called the opah, or moonfish, and it lives in cold environments deep below the ocean's surface. Scientists say the opah generates heat by constantly flapping its pectoral fins.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Stonehenge's origin has been a mystery for centuries, but archaeologists now believe it was actually a "second-hand monument." An earlier version might have been erected in Wales. 

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

A new scientific report suggests that the plague has been infecting humans for about twice as long as previously thought.

Read more here. 

Photo: Getty

British scientists using forensic anthropology, similar to how police solve crimes, have stitched together what they say is probably most accurate image of Jesus Christ's real face, and he's not the light-skinned figure many of us are used to seeing.

See more here.

Photo: Getty

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has announced that, based on the group's infrared thermography survey, the northern wall seems to register different temperatures. This could indicate that there is a secret chamber on the other side. 

Read more here

Photo: AP

In the first case of its kind, a man has died from cancer not caused by his own cells, but from those of a parasite.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

In images released by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, dwarf planet Pluto features breathtaking views of icy mountains, streams of frozen nitrogen and haunting low-lying hazes that hint at the weather changing from day to day on Pluto, just like it does here on Earth. 

Read more here.
 

Photo: NASA

Scientists say they've discovered a new member of the human family tree, revealed by a huge trove of bones in a barely accessible, pitch-dark chamber of a cave in South Africa.

Read more here.

Photo: AP

A new study reveals the mechanisms behind the below-surface ocean phenomenon known as internal waves which can reach more than 600 feet high and travel for more than a thousand miles before breaking under water.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Archaeologists have uncovered human remains of four of the earliest leaders of the English colony that would become America, buried for more than 400 years near the altar of what was America's first Protestant church in Jamestown, Virginia.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Meet the dulse, your new favorite healthy snack. Scientists discovered the super-veggie that is even healthier than kale (don't pretend you've even like its flavor) but tastes like bacon.

Read more here

Photo: Getty

According to a recent study, some common household sounds have been shown to trigger seizures in certain cats.The top noise culprits included a metal spoon hitting a ceramic bowl, the tap of a glass, the rustling of a paper or plastic bag, the click of a keyboard or mouse, and the jangle of keys or coins.

Read more here.
 

Photo: Alamy

Scientists have spied a vast reservoir of hot, partly molten rock beneath the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park that's big enough to fill the Grand Canyon 11 times over.

Read more here.
 

Photo: Shutterstock

A new study of close to 100,000 children shows no link between the vaccine to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella and an increased risk of autism.

Read more here.
 

Photo: AP

Dogs are called 'man's best friend' - women's, too - and scientists say the bond between people and their pooches may be deeper than you might think.

Researchers said oxytocin, a hormone that among other things helps reinforce bonds between parents and their babies, increases in humans and their dogs when they interact, particularly when looking into one another's eyes.

Read more here.

Photo: Alamy

According to researchers in Quebec, nail biting, what may be seen as a nervous tick, may actually be a sign of what perfectionists do when they're bored.

Read more here.

Photo: Getty

Researchers think they've found an inner-inner core. Iron at the Earth's core forms into crystals. The scientists found within the inner core, there's another region where the crystals don't line up with the rest of the inner core.

The discovery could shed light not only on how exactly the Earth's core works but also on how the core and the Earth itself developed billions of years ago.

Read more here

Photo: Getty

The water below the Antarctic ice sheet is as cold and dark as ever, but it turns out it's not as desolate as scientists thought. Researchers recently discovered that there's a whole ecosystem down there, complete with fish, crustaceans, and various invertebrates.

Read more here.

Photo: AP

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