5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including a shipwreck off Oregon and new guidelines for snoozing
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2015 5:58 AM CST
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
In this picture taken Jan. 30, 2015, Dr. Victoria Avery at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge examines two bronze sculptures thought to be works by Michelangelo.   (AP Photo/PA, Chris Radburn)

Steel that's stronger than titanium as well as new discoveries from a murderous mutiny make this week's list:

  • Experts Think They've Made a Big Michelangelo Discovery: Two sculptures of nude men atop "ferocious" panthers might seem attention-grabbing of their own accord, but the pair are generating buzz for another reason entirely: "Compelling evidence" indicates they were crafted by Michelangelo, according to researchers. Dutch artist Willem Danielsz Van Tetrode was the one most recently awarded credit for the pieces—until a very important clue was discovered in France's Musee Fabre.
  • Experts Figure Out Exactly How Much Sleep We Need: Maybe you've been getting enough shut-eye, maybe you haven't. The National Sleep Foundation has updated its recommendations for all age groups on how much time to spend in the Land of Nod. The nonprofit's report rigorously analyzed more than 300 sleep studies to come up with its numbers—which aren't quite the same as they've been in the past (and show some people need much more sleep than others).

  • 3 Friends Stumble Upon Shipwreck in Oregon Dunes: Three friends metal-detecting last fall in the dunes of Seaside, Ore., hit upon a not-very-metallic find: a large wooden vessel buried in the sand. Now Oregon state archaeologist Dennis Griffin says it is indeed a shipwreck, and that two wood samples taken from the boat's 21-foot keel are currently being tested. Here's what those tests should reveal.
  • Scientists Create New 'Super Steel': In what's being heralded as "one of the biggest steel breakthroughs of the last few decades," South Korean scientists say they've finally come up with the perfect metallurgical cocktail to create a new form of steel that's flexible, lightweight, relatively inexpensive—and as strong as titanium. Researchers had scratched their heads for years about how to make steel light enough for automotive and aircraft applications without being too brittle. They say they finally figured out the secret formula.
  • More Secrets of 17th-Century Mutiny Come to Light: In 1629, a Dutch East India ship called the Batavia was downed by a reef off the coast of Australia on its maiden voyage. Although most of the roughly 340 people aboard managed to reach nearby Beacon Island, more than 120 people, among them women and children, were reportedly massacred by a group of mutineers—felled by musket fire, swords, poison, and drowning. Now another skeleton has been unearthed, and the find is different than the ones that have preceded it.
Click for more big discoveries. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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