Science: Burying Bones of Contention

Tradition challenges research over rites for the dead

Blest be the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones

—From William Shakespeare's epitaph

Halfway around the globe from Shakespeare's grave, the normally conservative government of the Australian of Victoria has heeded the curse of the Bard, and by doing so has shocked the scientific establishment. Because of tightened state laws, the University of Melbourne must relinquish its important collection of several hundred human bones between 9,000 and 13,000 years old. They will go to the Victoria Museum, where a panel will decide whether the...

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