5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including a planet with an 8-hour day

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted May 3, 2014 5:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two stories this week suggest that our forebears were big on ingenuity even if they were short on modern inventions:

  • Discovered: Secret of Pyramids' Construction: When you picture Egypt's pyramids rising over the country's sands, your vision likely doesn't include water. It should, according to a new study. Scientists think workers of yore used it in a clever way to ease the moving of those massive stones. Think "liquid bridges."
  • Scientists Find Old Hunting Zone Under Lake Huron: Researchers have made a rare find that demonstrates how clever prehistoric hunters in North America could be—and it's at the bottom of Lake Huron of all places. Researchers found evidence of a network of hunting blinds they say was used to kill caribou on their seasonal migrations, back when the area wasn't covered in water.

  • Astronomers Find Planet With 8-Hour Day: If the 9-to-5 grind leaves you feeling like your day is shot, be thankful you're not living on the planet Beta Pictoris b. Scientists have calculated that its entire day is only eight hours long, thanks to its uber-fast spinning speed.
  • World's Fastest Animal Is Very, Very Small: Watch your back, Usain Bolt: A California physics major has found that a tiny mite is the fastest land animal on Earth, keeping a pace equivalent to that of a human running 1,300 miles per hour. The honor comes with an asterisk, but it's still pretty impressive.
  • Modern Humans No Brainier Than Neanderthals: It's a well-ingrained stereotype: That Neanderthals grunted their way through life as less than brilliant "club-wielding brutes." A new study, however, says that just isn't so. In fact, we humans may not have bragging rights over them.
Click for more discoveries, including a new theory that a tsunami wiped out an ancient paradise in the North Sea.

Tourists ride horses as a tour guide with camel waits for visitors at the Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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