Discovered: 78,000 years ago, the oldest known burial ritual in Africa

How do archaeologists know if someone was buried intentionally tens of thousands of years ago?

Photo by Francesco Derrico & Alain Queffelec / AFP via Getty Images
  • The oldest known burial ritual in Africa has been discovered on the coast of Kenya.
  • A small child appears to have been buried intentionally in a cave 78,000 years ago.
  • This new research offers insights into ancient funerary practices.
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New study determines how many mothers have lost a child by country

Global inequality takes many forms, including who has lost the most children

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • A first-of-its-kind study examines the number of mothers who have lost a child around the world.
  • The number is related to infant mortality rates in a country but is not identical to it.
  • The lack of information on the topic leaves a lot of room for future research.
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‘Zombie’ genes in the brain get to work after you die

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago find that death triggers increased activity in certain brain cells.

Credit: Dr. Jeffrey Loeb/UIC
  • While most brain cells do nothing or quickly degrade at death, others swing into high gear, sprouting long arms.
  • While you're alive, the cells are involved in inflammation.
  • Over the course of 24 hours after death, they get busier and busier.
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    As we approach death, our dreams offer comfort and reconciliation

    As patients approached death, many had dreams and visions of deceased loved ones.

    Credit: Amisha Nakhwa on Unsplash

    One of the most devastating elements of the coronavirus pandemic has been the inability to personally care for loved ones who have fallen ill.

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    Dark energy: The apocalyptic wild card of the universe

    Dr. Katie Mack explains what dark energy is and two ways it could one day destroy the universe.

    • The universe is expanding faster and faster. Whether this acceleration will end in a Big Rip or will reverse and contract into a Big Crunch is not yet understood, and neither is the invisible force causing that expansion: dark energy.
    • Physicist Dr. Katie Mack explains the difference between dark matter, dark energy, and phantom dark energy, and shares what scientists think the mysterious force is, its effect on space, and how, billions of years from now, it could cause peak cosmic destruction.
    • The Big Rip seems more probable than a Big Crunch at this point in time, but scientists still have much to learn before they can determine the ultimate fate of the universe. "If we figure out what [dark energy is] doing, if we figure out what it's made of, how it's going to change in the future, then we will have a much better idea for how the universe will end," says Mack.
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