It’s not what you think – The giant monoliths of Easter Island are worn, but they have endured for centuries. New research suggests that a compound first discovered in the soil of this tiny South Pacific island might help us stand the test of time, too. You can never tell what you’ll find hidden at a sacred site.

When dirt from the Easter Island compound, called “rapamycin” after the island’s Polynesian name Rapa Nui, was fed to middle-aged mice, it their expected lifespans by 28 to 38%. In human terms, this would be greater than the predicted increase in extra years of life if cancer and heart disease were both cured and prevented.

Researcher Arlan G. Richardson says, “I’ve been in aging research for 35 years and there have been many so-called ‘anti-aging’ interventions over those years that were never successful. I never thought we would find an anti-aging pill for people in my lifetime; however, rapamycin shows a great deal of promise to do just that.”

This sounds almost as promising as the mysterious substance known as white powder gold! The ancients knew some science that our modern researchers need to find out. For instance, in her extraordinary film What on Earth?, Suzanne Taylor talks to a crop circle researcher who postulates that prehistoric stone circles and rows of standing stones, like Stonehenge and Avebury, were built on the sites of crop circles. If you love our extraordinary radio shows, there’s only one way to make sure they’ll still be here tomorrow and that’s to subscribe today!

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