<p>The discovery of the Oldest Maya observatory, the reason behind Stonehenge and the illusion of time are just a few of the crazy cool stories we found in Science this week.</p>
<p>Check these out!</p>
Oldest Maya observatory found
<p> The oldest ancient Maya ceremonial compound ever discovered in the Central American lowlands dates back 200 years before similar sites pop up elsewhere in the region, archaeologists announced today (April 25). The recently excavated plaza and pyramid would have likely served as a solar observatory for rituals.</p>
<p> The finding at a site called Ceibal suggests that the origins of the Maya civilization are more complex than first believed. Archaeologists hotly debate whether the Maya — famous for their complex calendar system that spurred apocalypse rumors last year — developed independently or whether they were largely inspired by an earlier culture known as the Olmec. The new research suggests the answer is neither.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/29053-oldest-maya-observatory-ceibal.html target="_blank">Oldest Maya Sun Observatory Hints at Origin of Civilization</a>]</p>
Dark lightning linked to visible kind
<p>Paging all comic book creators. For the first time, scientists have linked mysterious dark lightning to its dazzling visible counterpart, a new study reports.</p>
<p> Dark lightning, also called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, is a burst of powerful gamma-ray radiation produced in thunderstorms. Two satellites caught a flash of dark lightning just before a lightning bolt raced across a powerful thundercloud in Venezuela in 2006, according to a study published April 15 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/29019-dark-lightning-linked-visible-lightning.html target="_blank">Dark Lightning Linked to its Luminous Twin</a>]</p>
Earth recycles decrepit crust
<p> The remains of a real-life journey to the center of the Earth are preserved in a South Pacific volcano, a new study suggests.</p>
<p> The lava that erupted from the Cook Islands volcano, called Mangaia, contains a few tiny grains of sulfide, a mineral, with a peculiar ratio of sulfur isotopes, according to research published in today's (April 24) issue of the journal Nature. The unusual ratio could only have formed before oxygen-breathing life appeared on Earth 2.45 billion years ago. Isotopes are versions of elements with different numbers of neutrons, giving them differing weights.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/29006-volcano-samples-ancient-mantle-rocks.html target="_blank">Extreme Green: Earth Recycles 2.5-Billion-Year-Old Ocean Crust</a>]</p>
Man with hole in stomach changed medicine
<p> A man whose gunshot wound created a window into his stomach enabled scientists to understand digestion.</p>
<p> But the patient, a fur trapper named Alexis St. Martin, also transformed how physiologists studied the body, new research suggests.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/28996-hole-in-stomach-revealed-digestion.html target="_blank">Man With Hole in Stomach Revolutionized Medicine</a>]</p>
Why Stonehenge was built
<p> A site near Stonehenge has revealed archaeological evidence that hunters lived just a mile from Stonehenge roughly 5,000 years prior to the construction of the first stones, new research suggests.</p>
<p> What's more, the site, which was occupied continuously for 3,000 years, had evidence of burning, thousands of flint tool fragments and bones of wild aurochs , a type of extinct giant cow. That suggests the area near Stonehenge may have been an auroch migration route that became an ancient feasting site, drawing people together from across different cultures in the region, wrote lead researcher David Jacques of the Open University in the United Kingdom, in an email.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/28881-stonehenge-hunting-ground-discovered.html target="_blank">New Theory on Why Stonehenge Was Built</a>]</p>
Ancient Europeans vanished 4,500 years ago
<p> The genetic lineage of Europe mysteriously transformed about 4,500 years ago, new research suggests.</p>
<p> The findings, detailed today (April 23) in the journal Nature Communications, were drawn from several skeletons unearthed in central Europe that were up to 7,500 years old.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/28954-ancient-europeans-mysteriously-vanished.html target="_blank">
Ancient Europeans Mysteriously Vanished 4,500 Years Ago
How pyramid builders were fed
<p> The builders of the famous Giza pyramids in Egypt feasted on food from a massive catering-type operation, the remains of which scientists have discovered at a workers' town near the pyramids.</p>
<p> The workers' town is located about 1,300 feet (400 meters) south of the Sphinx, and was used to house workers building the pyramid of pharaoh Menkaure, the third and last pyramid on the Giza plateau. The site is also known by its Arabic name, Heit el-Ghurab, and is sometimes called "the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders."
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/28961-ancient-giza-pyramid-builders-camp-unearthed.html target="_blank">
Giza Secret Revealed: How 10,000 Pyramid Builders Got Fed</a>]</p>
Humans show empathy for robots
<p> From R2-D2 in "Star Wars" to Furby, robots can generate surprisingly humanlike feelings. Watching a robot being abused or cuddled has a similar effect on people to seeing those things done to a human, new research shows.</p>
<p> Humans are increasingly exposed to robots in their daily lives, but little is known about how these lifelike machines influence human emotions.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/28947-humans-show-empathy-for-robots.html target="_blank">Humans Show Empathy for Robots</a>]</p>
Is time real?
<p>Is time real, or the ultimate illusion?</p>
<p> Most physicists would say the latter, but Lee Smolin challenges this orthodoxy in his new book, "Time Reborn" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2013), which he discussed here Wednesday (April 24) at the Rubin Museum of Art.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/29081-time-real-illusion-smolin.html target="_blank">Controversially, Physicist Argues Time Is Real</a>]</p>
Why humans have lopsided brains
<p> The two halves of the human brain are not symmetrical. This lopsidedness, which arises during brain development, may be a stamp of the adaptability of the human brain, a new study suggests.</p>
<p> Researchers compared geometric differences between brain scans of humans and chimpanzees. They observed structural asymmetries in both human and chimpanzee brains, but human brains were especially asymmetric. The findings, published online today (April 23) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest human and chimp brains evolved a high degree of flexibility during development.
<p>[Full Story: <a href=http://www.livescience.com/28986-humans-evolved-asymmetric-brains.html target="_blank">Humans Evolved Flexible, Lopsided Brains</a>]</p>