National Geographic Daily News

The rare giant forest hog makes an appearance on this week's most intriguing news stories.

Photograph courtesty Rafael Reyna

Tanya Basu

National Geographic News

Published November 8, 2013

It's been a busy week at National Geographic.

From a rare hybrid solar eclipse to an important debut swim for a pair of tiger cubs, we covered it all. The week’s five key discoveries:

1. Global warming made mammals smaller. Researchers looked back 56 million years, to when the Earth's temperatures spiked six degrees Farenheit, and noticed that mammals were smaller versions of themselves during the heat wave. The Hyracotherium, a now-extinct horse, evolved to be about 30 percent smaller. Dwarf mammals could have had higher skin-to-body ratios, making sweating easier and overheating less likely. Once the heat wave was over, the mammals rebounded to "normal."

2. Meet the world's biggest pig. At 600 hefty pounds, the giant forest hog would make quite the roast. But that's the problem: The world's biggest undomesticated pig has become endangered due to hunting. Conservationists are trying to step in and protect the gentle giants in Kibale National Park in Uganda.

3. Being a night owl might make you sick. Don't want to put that best seller down and turn off the light? There could be a serious downside. Stay up later and risk being sick, says a study that shows your body's circadian clock is closely attuned to your immune system. Instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed just before you doze off, give your brain a break and teach it to expect sleep by closing the curtains and shutting off lights.

4. If you want to feel better, wash your hands. (Warning: You might also wash away motivation.) Kai Kaspar at the University of Osnabrück published a study showing that washing hands after you failed at a task made you feel better. But—and it’s a big but—you're less motivated to try harder next time. Researchers think it's a mental "wash your hands of sin" sort of ritual that helps you get past a recent failure. But if you're hoping to improve on that tough task, stay dirty.

5. King Tut might have burst into flames. Or not. Britain's Channel 4 will air a TV program on Sunday that features controversial evidence that King Tutankhamun's mummified body was burnt. Egyptologist Chris Naunton thinks that burnt flesh is an indicator that King Tut's body spontaneously combusted from a mummification gone wrong. National Geographic's A.R. Williams delved into the mystery and raised questions about the fiery theory. Why does the jewelry the boy king wore in his sarcophagus bear little, if any, fire damage? Why were the wooden outer coffins unmarked by scorch marks? Either way, the mystery of the boy wonder's death continues.

Follow Tanya Basu on Twitter.

randi Larkson
randi Larkson

see "King Tut's penis suggests political struggle." it falls off -_-' i feel sorry for this guy. 

Strutty Buddy
Strutty Buddy

Wow~ seems like odd choices... a hog most of us have never heard of- makes me worry that people might run out & get one for their mantle!

and King Tut may or may not have burst into flames?  Really?  and if I want to feel better wash my hands? Are you guys serious?

I know you can do better than this!  ?

robbie butler
robbie butler

people could domesticate these animals alot of pork of this one and handy for smallholding: theworld next major food producer

Tim Morris
Tim Morris

Don't google search "giant forest hog", all you'll find is photos from african hunting clubs, of people that think it's okay to shoot these things :(

raylene barwis
raylene barwis

I have just joined national geographic family. does anyone know and advise me about dercums disease? very rare and extremely painful. thanks hi from Australia.

Douglas van der Merwe
Douglas van der Merwe

I agree Clive - practice makes perfect - Gary Player, our great  South African Golfer once said:  "The more I practice, the better I get, the better I get, the more I win!"  Go ahead, wash your hands before a meal, but I feel a lot better honing my skills to perfection rather than washing my hands to make me feel better about having failed in the first instance!

Clive Marshall
Clive Marshall

Wash your hands to avoid catching flu, but if you fail at a task there is nothing better than practice! Try etc:

shi xin
shi xin

to improve on that tough task, stay dirty.

Verg Matthews
Verg Matthews

A fascinating read for sure!......and for my next lecture,'Washing' sure takes a priority!.........MATTS

Beryl Gulick Hanna
Beryl Gulick Hanna

Why does the Daily Quiz no longer appear on the Opening Page of NG?


How to Feed Our Growing Planet

  • Feed the World

    Feed the World

    National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.

See blogs, stories, photos, and news »

The Innovators Project

See more innovators »

Latest News Video

  • Mazes: Key to Brain Development?

    Mazes: Key to Brain Development?

    Mazes are a powerful tool for neuroscientists trying to figure out the brain and help us learn to grapple with the unexpected.

See more videos »

See Us on Google Glass

Shop Our Space Collection

  • Be the First to Own <i>Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey</i>

    Be the First to Own Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

    The updated companion book to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, featuring a new forward by Neil deGrasse Tyson is now available. Proceeds support our mission programs, which protect species, habitats, and cultures.

Shop Now »