Skip to main contentSkip to main content

    A study has revealed new details about what the ancient Egyptians used to mummify their dead. In 2016, archaeologists found an embalming workshop with a collection of old pottery. Many of the jars still had written instructions for the embalming process, like “to put on his head.” By matching the words on the outside with the chemical traces inside, researchers figured out what substances were used on various parts of the mummies. Some materials came from far-off locations — showing that Egyptians traded with global networks to get what they needed.

      The Justice Department has been scrutinizing a controversial artificial intelligence tool used by a Pittsburgh-area child protective services agency following concerns that the tool could lead to discrimination against families with disabilities, The Associated Press has learned. The interest from federal civil rights attorneys comes after an AP investigation revealed potential bias and transparency issues surrounding the increasing use of algorithms within the troubled U.S. child welfare system. Several civil rights complaints were filed in the fall about the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, which social workers use to help decide which families to investigate. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

        Researchers say that the population of western monarch butterflies wintering along the California coast has rebounded for a second year in a row. The orange-and-black insects saw a precipitous drop in 2020 that put them closer to extinction. Scientists with the Xerces Society said Tuesday that volunteers tallied more than 330,000 butterflies in California and Arizona, a promising rebound after the annual winter count in 2020 recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies. Researchers say the monarchs are at critically low levels in western states because of destruction to their milkweed habitat due to housing expansion, and pesticides and herbicides. They say they don't know what is helping the insects multiply.

          A company working on technologies to bring back extinct species has attracted more investors. Other scientists are skeptical such feats are possible or a good idea. Colossal Biosciences first announced an ambitious plan to revive the woolly mammoth two years ago. On Tuesday, the Dallas company said it wanted to bring back the dodo bird, too. The dodo was a flightless bird about the size of a turkey that lived on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The company's CEO expects the genetic tools and equipment developed in the attempt to have other uses, including for human health care.

          Ayahuasca is a psychedelic tea whose roots go back hundreds of years to ceremonial use by Indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest. Ayahuasca supporters found a foothold in the United States in the 1980s and interest has intensified more recently as celebrities like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Hollywood star Will Smith talked about attending ceremonies. Many people who take the tea claim that ayahuasca brings them closer to God and thus have formed churches to celebrate it. Many believe it helps treat a range of mental health problems but others caution there haven’t been large-scale studies to support those claims.


          Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


          News Alerts

          Breaking News

          Breaking News (FlagLive!)