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Dozens of naturally preserved brains found in Spanish Civil War-era mass grave

Almost 50 per cent of individuals from the Spanish 1936 mass grave had their brains preserved.

Thompson Reuters

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MADRID — Archaeologists, while excavating a mass grave from Spain’s 1936 to 1939 Civil War, have found the naturally preserved brains of 45 people — eight decades after they were shot and buried on a hillside in the northern province of Burgos,a scientist says.

Spain has hundreds of mass graves from the war era and from ensuing decades of dictatorship under General Francisco Franco. Very few have been dug up due to a lack of funding and Spain’s “pact of forgetting” on its return to democracy in the 1970s.

The findings, which were published in the Science and Justice journal of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, showed almost 50 per cent of individuals from the Spanish 1936 mass grave had their brains preserved.

Forensic scientist Fernando Serrulla says the shrivelled, brown brains — some with the ridges still showing — are an rare find.

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“Naturally preserved brains are very rare,” Serrulla said. “There are only around 100 documented cases in the world.”

The brains from some of the bodies in the La Pedraja grave were preserved by very specific environmental conditions after heavy rains seeped into bullet holes in their skulls.

A preserved heart has also been unearthed, an unprecedented finding, says forensic scientist Fernando Serrulla who worked on the dig and has published a study with details of the discovery.

The brains are being kept in a laboratory in Galicia, northwestern Spain, where Serrulla works. Shrivelled, brown and with the ridges still showing, they form the largest collection of naturally preserved human brains in the world, he says.

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India’s 700 year old banyan tree put on saline drip

Gorkha Post

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HYDERABAD — The world’s second largest Banyan tree in Pillalamarri of Mahabubnagar district in Indian state of Telangana is on ‘saline drip’ now as part of the rejuvenation of the tree that is almost dying.

The 700-year-old ficus tree is now given treatment by injecting a diluted chemical to kill termite population that infested the tree.

The tree was spread across three acres and is believed to be the second biggest Banyan tree in the world,according to news agency ANI.

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One of its branches got infested by insects and is on saline drip as part of the rejuvenation. The tree is given treatment by injecting diluted chemical to kill termite population that infested it.

Termites had affected almost entire tree due to which parts of it are fallen, and it closed for tourists in December 2017.

District collector of Mahbubnagar inspected the tree and ordered forest officials to take care of it. They began the treatment of the tree with mixed chlorpyrifos(Pesticide) in saline bottle.

Forest officials are infusing the chemical solution drop by drop using saline bottles similar to a saline drip given to patients in the hospital as pumping of chemical into the stem failed. The solution was injected in the barks of the tree.

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