5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including one about how much our ancestors slept
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2015 5:37 AM CDT
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
When it comes to the brain, size doesn't matter.   (Shutterstock)

A biblical find and our ancient ancestors' snoozing habits make the list:

  • Old Question About the Brain Answered: Scientists have combed through 88 studies with more than 8,000 participants to conclude that when it comes to intelligence, brain size simply doesn't matter. Some other characteristics of the brain, however just might be key.
  • Maybe You Don't Need 8 Hours of Sleep After All: The next big thing in health may well be the Paleo sleep schedule, per a UCLA researcher who determined that our ancient ancestors may have slept less than modern Westerners— perhaps even a shade under six hours—and still remained healthy. Just as intriguing is how they timed their waking and sleeping schedules.
  • American Finds Oldest Draft of King James Bible: A US professor poking around in the archives of Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge found what looks to be the earliest known draft of the King James Bible. It even contains a couple of omitted sections that have researchers quite excited.

  • Unusual Star Raises Talk of Aliens: A star spotted by the Kepler telescope is emitting a light pattern that seems to defy conventional scientific explanation. In fact, it looks "like something you would expect an alien civilization to build," says one astronomer. The smart money's on something more mundane, of course, but SETI is working on a plan to take a closer look.
  • Secret to Longevity May Be Deleting Certain Genes: After a decade of work, scientists have isolated 238 genes linked to aging in yeast cells. When any one isn't present, the yeast's life span goes up—in one case by 60%. The implication for us? "Almost half of the genes we found that affect aging are conserved in mammals," says the lead author.
Click to read about more discoveries, including a saliva test that seems to be able to predict whether a man is gay. (More discoveries stories.)

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