When we die, environmental conditions like temperature and humidity drive changes to our bodies. Understanding these processes helps investigators to estimate crucial details such as time of death. Forensic taphonomists Kara Adams and Victoria Gibbon explain their latest experiment, which involved dressing pig carcasses in human clothes.

Over the past few years, the Horn of Africa has suffered devastating droughts. At one stage, there were six failed rainy seasons and about 20 million people were at risk of famine. Climate adaptation researcher Bradley Hiller has found that this problem could be solved if Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, South Sudan and Uganda developed a network of deep groundwater boreholes in drought hotspots. These would drill below shallow aquifers to provide water across the region.

Thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes have been released in Djibouti in an effort to stop the spread of the Anopheles stephensi mosquito, an invasive species that transmits malaria. Researchers first detected this species in Djibouti in 2012. In this article from our archives, Shüné Oliver and Jaishree Raman explain why it’s such a big threat to Africa’s anti-malaria efforts.

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Natasha Joseph

Commissioning Editor

Clothed pig carcasses are revealing the secrets of mummification – South African study provides insights for forensic scientists

Kara Adams, University of Cape Town; Victoria Gibbon, University of Cape Town

Pigs, specifically those weighing around 60kg, are useful in human decomposition studies.

Horn of Africa droughts: how a network of groundwater bores could help – study

Bradley Hiller, University of Cambridge

Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, South Sudan and Uganda are investigating whether deep groundwater bores could support drought stricken communities. Could a networked approach help?

Men still dominate Uganda’s party politics – women’s participation is mostly cosmetic

Hannah Muzee, Kyambogo University

Women are constantly battling stereotypes that seek to maintain the status quo of male dominance in political spaces.

Why the upcoming South African election is a massive milestone for the ruling ANC

Stephen Chan, SOAS, University of London

South Africa’s ANC party has dominated government for 30 years, but it looks like it is about to be thrown out.

In the news

The Anopheles stephensi is usually found in South-East Asia. Jim Gathany

Mosquito species from Asia poses growing risk to Africa’s anti-malaria efforts

Shüné Oliver, National Institute for Communicable Diseases; Jaishree Raman, National Institute for Communicable Diseases

The spread of this urban malaria vector species threatens the gains made against malaria and the achievement of malaria elimination.


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