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Top Ten Weirdest Science Stories of 2014

By Australian Science Media Centre

A recap of the weirdest science stories in 2014, from the attractiveness of hipster beards and the induction of a dream within a dream to the number of bacteria transferred during a kiss.

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Sorry hipsters, we hit peak beard

In April, Australian researchers delivered a cutting blow to hairy male hipsters – their research found that beards are only attractive to women if they’re a rarity. The bald truth is that, when too many people conform to bristly non-conformism, it quickly becomes a turn-off. But there was good news for men who’ve resisted rejecting their razors in the current sea of beards – a smooth chin is considered more attractive when everyone else is sporting facial fuzz. The researchers said their findings reflect patterns seen in other animals – females tend to find rare features attractive in potential mates.

There was a bigfoot-step forward in yeti research

July brought abominable news for mythical animal fans; a detailed analysis of 30 tufts of hair from around the world thought to be from yetis, bigfoot and other extraordinary ape-like creatures showed they all came from ordinary, decidedly non-mythical animals. Ten samples turned out to be bear hair, while others were from dogs, cows, horses, and there was even one from a person. However, some of the results were out of the ordinary; two of the samples - from the mountains of India and Bhutan - didn’t match any living animals, but did match an extinct species of polar bear thought to have died out around 40,000 years ago.

Eeeeeuuuugh! A snog transferred 80m...

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