For more than 12,000 years, the remains of a teenager have been hidden in an underwater cave in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Scientists believe that the girl was 14 or 15 when she fell into the chamber, and as the Ice Age ended and glaciers began to melt, her final resting place filled with water.
The divers who found the remains in 2007 named her Naia, the Los Angeles Times reports, and through DNA research scientists have discovered that while she does not resemble modern Native Americans (her forehead was very high and her cheeks narrow), her mitochondrial DNA (which is only passed on by the mother) shows she is related to 11 percent of living American Indians.
As experts conduct more DNA research, they are finding results suggesting that thousands of years ago, people came to North and South America from a land scientists call Beringia, situated between Siberia and Alaska. The people fled as glaciers melted and sea levels began to rise. In their new land, these Paleoamericans gradually began to evolve features now associated with Native Americans.
"For years archeologists have been debating the trans-Atlantic thing and really it's been an enormous distraction," paleoarchaeologist John Hoffecker, who did not participate in the study, told the Times. "This helps us focus on Beringia, which is what we should have been doing all along." The study was published Thursday in the journal Science. Catherine Garcia
Late Monday, a chartered cruise ship carrying 458 passengers and crew up China's Yangtze River capsized in a storm, and as of Tuesday morning, only between 10 and 20 have been rescued, according to Chinese media. Rescue efforts were hampered at first by strong wind and rains, and then darkness. But by daylight Tuesday, hundreds of police officers, military personnel, and divers were on hand for the rescue and recovery operation.
According to the English language version of Chinese state news site Xinhua, the captain and chief engineer were among those rescued, and "both claimed the ship sank quickly after being caught in a cyclone." Search crews reported hearing noises from within the upturned boat 12 hours after it capsized, China's CCTV reports, and are trying to determine if the sounds are coming from people trapped inside. The four-deck boat, built in 1994, sank in a part of the river about 50 feet deep. For more information, watch the Reuters report below. Peter Weber
Joel McHale and Conan O'Brien have more in common than their freakishly tall stature, they discovered on Monday night's Conan. His show, Community, was "canceled by NBC," McHale noted, adding, "I don't know if you have any experience with that." After a round of boos from the audience, Conan deadpanned: "Nothing but smooth sailing with that gang." But both shows got second lives, Conan on TBS and Community on Yahoo.
After a great season on Yahoo, McHale said, he didn't know what the future held for Community. Yahoo said it is interested in more, though "I don't think we are, unless they pay me a lot of money." But fear not Community community. "I think we will do a movie, if Dan [Harmon, Community's creator,] will write the script," McHale added. You can watch the tease below. Peter Weber
Is the noose circling around FIFA President Sepp Blatter?
The New York Times reports that his top deputy, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, transferred $10 million in FIFA funds to an account controlled by Jack Warner, an official who has been accused by U.S. law enforcement authorities of taking kickbacks to help South Africa secure hosting rights for the World Cup in 2010. Valcke has not been officially charged with any wrongdoing, though he makes an appearance in the U.S. indictment against FIFA officials as a "high-ranking FIFA official" responsible for the transfer. It remains unclear whether the transfer was a part of the bribe that Warner allegedly accepted.
According to the Times, Valcke "said in a brief email that he had not authorized the payment and did not have the power to do so."
Still, the report suggests the alleged bribery ring came closer to Blatter than was previously known. Ryu Spaeth
The state of Oklahoma launched an investigation the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department after a volunteer deputy's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Reuters reports.
Reserve deputy Robert Bates, a 73-year-old white man, said he confused his stun gun with his handgun when he shot Eric Harris, 44, on April 2. The incident was caught on tape. Bates pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and resigned from his position with the sheriff's office, the Associated Press reports.
The Oklahoma State Investigative Bureau is looking for possible misconduct at the sheriff's department. Some say Bates, a personal friend of Sheriff Stanley Glanz, benefited from special treatment and did not receive proper volunteer training. There is no set timetable for the investigation. Julie Kliegman
Piggybacking off world-building game Minecraft's millions of downloads, Lego launched a competitor Monday, Fast Company reports.
"Players have the freedom to alter procedurally generated worlds and create anything they can imagine one brick at a time, or use prefabricated structures to customize their environments," a statement read. "Large-scale landscaping tools are available to modify terrain quickly and easily."
It's not just Jurassic Park: Scientists have found evidence of parthenogenesis in sawfish.
Researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission used DNA fingerprinting to show that three percent of a Florida sawfish population was created by female-only reproduction. The findings, described in the journal Current Biology, suggest that sawfish have saved their species from extinction by reproducing without male input.
Scientists have previously observed asexual reproduction in sharks, snakes, and fish in captivity, The Guardian notes, but the new study is the first evidence of parthenogenesis in vertebrates in the wild.
The best part of the study, though, is that the find was completely accidental. The researchers were studying the sawfish group to see if its small population size had led to inbreeding, but the sawfish were apparently a step ahead of the game. The scientists noted that while parthenogenesis leads to less genetic diversity, it could help save species from going extinct. Meghan DeMaria
The Muslim woman who was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf won her discrimination case Monday, Reuters reports. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in her favor in a landmark case for religious freedom and workplace discrimination.
In 2008, an Abercrombie Kids store in Oklahoma told Samantha Elauf, then 17, that she wasn't hired because the headscarf she wears for religious reasons violated the company's "look policy." Julie Kliegman