5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including why saunas may save your life and how to survive a zombie apocalypse
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2015 5:30 AM CST
5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Go west.   (Shutterstock)

We won't lie, there are a lot of death-related items this week—details about a pharaoh's demise and ancient mortician methodology make the list. But we do try to end on a positive note:

  • Man's Body Found in Ancient Buddha Statue: Dutch researchers performing a CT scan on a Buddha statue shown last year in the Netherlands' Drents Museum saw a mummified body inside, showing what appears to be lung tissue along with little bits of paper in place of bodily organs. The body is believed to be that of Buddhist master Liuquan, and researchers think he may have taken part in a fascinating (though gruesome) mummification process.
  • About That Pharaoh We Mentioned Earlier ... : To get right to the point, he was probably killed viciously in battle. The remains of ancient Egypt's Pharaoh Senebkay, whose reign is believed to date back to roughly 1650BC, show 18 wounds that penetrate all the way to the bone, meaning he was likely riding a horse or chariot when "assailants first cut his lower back, ankles, and feet to bring him to the ground," researchers say. Blows to the skull followed with what were likely battle-axes. This warrior-type death may also mean he can make a singular claim to fame.

  • Be Thankful for 21st-Century Morticians: At least in Bolivia, where archaeologists believe morticians from more than 1,000 years ago dissected corpses and then boiled the body parts in pots of calcium oxide, or quicklime. The violent process may have been done to evoke an "otherworldly realm" and create an "impressive sensory experience." It looks like the nomadic people who lived back then took souvenirs from this ritual, too.
  • Something Else That's Awesome About Saunas: Most Finns have private saunas in their homes, and they may be on to something: A study suggests that sauna use may provide health benefits, decrease cardiovascular disease risk, and even help you live longer. Researchers found that heart attack deaths and other cardiovascular-related fatalities were almost twice as common in middle-aged men who used saunas once a week, compared to those who used them at least four times weekly. So how does that work, exactly?
  • This Is Where to Go If Zombies Attack: Let's end with the undead. A Cornell University study is suggesting where we should go if/when a zombie outbreak takes place in the US. Researchers who modeled the statistical mechanics of zombies found that while books and movies typically show an outbreak touching all corners of the country immediately, it wouldn't happen like that. There's a specific geographical location scientists recommend that will (probably) keep you safe for months. Think west.
Click to read about more discoveries. (More discoveries stories.)

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