<p>LeBron James, pictured here, sleeps about 12 hours a day, which contributes to his huge success on the basketball court, says a new book called <i>Superhumans</i>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

LeBron James, pictured here, sleeps about 12 hours a day, which contributes to his huge success on the basketball court, says a new book called Superhumans.

 

Photography by Larry W. Smith/ POOL/ Reuters

Are ‘superhumans’ real? Science weighs in.

People with extreme talents or accomplishments seem to have superhuman abilities, but do they, really?

The word “superhuman” tends to conjure images of Marvel comic characters zooming about in capes, battling evil. But the people that evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper describes in his new book, Superhuman: Life at The Extremes of Mental and Physical Ability, are just like you and me. Well, almost. These ordinary people have somehow managed to do extraordinary things, whether finding happiness despite suffering from a horrible disease or shooting three pointers in basketball.

When National Geographic caught up with Hooper at New Scientist magazine in London, where he is the managing editor, he explained how a woman with locked-in syndrome inspired him with her optimism, why Lebron James loves to sleep, and why “Blue Zones,” where people enjoy

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