Scientists working at the world's biggest atom smasher say they have discovered a new kind of particle called "pentaquarks."

The existence of pentaquarks was first proposed in the 1960s by American physicists Murray Gell-Mann and Georg Zweig. Gell-Mann, who coined the term "quark," received the Nobel Prize in 1969.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, says the discovery was made by a team working on one of the four experiments at the Large Hadron Collider beneath the Swiss-French border.

Guy Wilkinson, a spokesman for the LHCb team, said in a statement Tuesday that studying pentaquarks may help scientists to understand better "how ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons from which we're all made, is constituted."

The findings were submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.