Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Perfect Mummy

by Catherine Zuckerman, executive summary by darmansjah

A Perfect Mummy In the Chinese city of Taizhou, workers digging a new roadbed recently uncovered a remarkable burial from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The deceased was a five-foot-three-inch-tall woman whose skin, hair, eyebrows, and more than 20 items of cotton clothing were all fully preserved. Three thick layers of plaster sealed her wooden coffin, keeping out oxygen and bacteria. When she was found, she lay in a mysterious fluid, which may have served to further stave off decay. Once the mummy is stabilized and studied, the city’s museum plans to make her one of the star attractions of a new exhibit. —A. R. Williams
Dressed to prevent contamination, staff from the Taizhou Museum prepare to ease ropes under a quilt-wrapped mummy to lift her from her coffin.

That Stinks

They are resilient through winter, latch skillfully on to vehicles, and have few natural checks on their U.S. population. These factors have enabled an Asian native, the brown marmorated stinkbug, to thrive in the eastern U.S. First noted in 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania—and since spotted in 33 other states—the tenacious insect feasts on crops and creeps into homes, particularly in Maryland and Virginia. Squashing it unleashes a pungent odor. Now researchers hope a tiny wasp can help by attacking stinkbug eggs, but safety tests will  take a few years. Smells like trouble in the meantime. —Catherine Zuckerman


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