5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including a revelation about psychopaths
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2015 5:47 AM CST
This undated photo provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority shows a partial human skull excavated from a cave in Israel's western Galilee region.   (AP Photo/Israel Antiquities Authority, Clara Amit)

(Newser) – Some archaeological surprises highlight the list of the week's most intriguing discoveries:

  • Ancient Skull May Be Evolution Milestone: A 55,000-year-old skull found in a cave in Israel is the first solid evidence that our species migrated out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world around 60,000 years ago. Put another way, this is "really a key skull in understanding modern human evolution." It may even suggest human-Neanderthal interbreeding.
  • Surprise Find: Seating Plan for Rome's Colosseum: So how did Romans know where to sit when they went to the Colosseum to watch their favorite gladiators? Same way we do today at football stadiums, which we know thanks to the discovery of some ancient red paint.

  • Psychopaths' Brains Don't Register Punishment: Why do psychopathic criminals tend to remain psychopathic criminals? It turns out that they just don't grasp punishment the way normal people do. The discovery might explain why typical rehab doesn't work for them.
  • Water Temple Reveals 'Drought Cult' of Mayans: Archaeologists are pretty sure that it was a series of severe droughts that brought down the Mayan empire. And a newly discovered water temple in Belize suggests that the Mayans themselves were getting antsy about their fate as the dry days intensified.
  • Researchers Solve Piece of Easter Island Mystery: One school of thought holds that the arrival of Europeans in 1722 on Easter Island brought about the demise of the native inhabitants. New research, however, suggests that the Europeans are getting a bad rap. It seems the Rapa Nui culture was on the ropes before the new arrivals.
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