The locals living in a remote Burmese forest gave wildlife biologists very clear instructions on how to find a rare species of monkey: Just go out on a rainy day, and listen for sneezes in the treetops. The snub-nosed monkey has nostrils that point up, they said, and it sneezes when rainwater drips into its nose.
Even with these amazingly great directions, the biologists failed to photograph a live specimen of the Burmese snub-nosed monkey–the image at right is a digital reconstruction of what the monkey probably looks like. Still, their examination of skins and skulls in the villagers’ possession provided enough evidence to declare that the monkey was a new species that had never before been described in the scientific literature. BBC reports:
Here’s something to think about the next time a stranger on the subway is suddenly seized by a sneezing fit: A new report [subscription required] describes people who experience uncontrollable sneezing when thinking about sex, or after doing the deed itself. The researchers, who conducted an admittedly unscientific survey by scouring Internet chat rooms, believe that this strange phenomenon is more common than reported.
Harold Maxwell and Mahmood Bhutta of West Middlesex University Hospital in London decided to investigate the issue after one patient, a middle-aged man, complained of uncontrollable fits of sneezing when thinking about sex. Searching through the medical literature, they could find only one similar case of a man who reported severe sneezing after orgasm. Perhaps the phenomenon is under-reported because people who suffer from it are embarrassed, they thought.
So the researchers turned to the anonymity of the Web: After a survey of chatrooms, the researchers found 17 people who reported sneezing triggered by sexual thoughts, and three who reported sneezing triggered by orgasm.