5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including smart elephants and a simple diagnostic test for Alzheimer's
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2013 5:43 AM CDT
Updated Oct 12, 2013 9:30 AM CDT
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
An elephant roams a 25-acre compound at the National Elephant Center near Fellsmere, Fla.   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

(Newser) – Elephants smart enough to understand what humans mean when they point, and an Alzheimer's test that's probably in your kitchen highlight this week's discoveries:

  • Elephants Understand When We Point: Researchers have found that when humans point a finger, elephants understand exactly what they're doing and what it means. Other animals can learn the skill, but elephants seem to have been born with it.
  • Alzheimer's Test: Can You Smell Peanut Butter? How's this for a low-tech way of diagnosing Alzheimer's: sniffing peanut butter. Researchers at the University of Florida have discovered some merit to the bizarre-sounding notion. Those who have trouble picking up the scent with the left nostril might have reason to worry.
  • Male Marsupials Die After Marathon Mating: Some male marsupials have quite the end-of-life experience: They "mate themselves to death," explains the lead author of a new study in the journal PNAS. The trait is all about trying to win the reproduction sweepstakes.
  • 2047: New Climate Change Turning Point: Feeling the effects of climate change, but not worrying too much yet? Mark this year: 2047. That's when, for most of the world, the coldest year in the future will be hotter than any in recorded history, according to a new study.
  • Archaeologists Find 4K-Year-Old Brain: Archaeologists in Turkey have uncovered one of the oldest human brains ever found. The 4,000-year-old specimen was found in Seyitömer Höyük, a Bronze Age settlement, and researchers think its owner was likely killed when an earthquake buried him under rubble.
Click for more incredible discoveries. (Read more discoveries stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.