'Chinchorro mummies are buried just beneath the surface in valleys that are experiencing higher humidity levels due to climate change'
The world's oldest mummies are at risk of disappearing because of man-made climate change, according to a group of Harvard University scientists. Bodies mummified about 7,000 years ago in Chile are starting to degrade rapidly, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Tests by Harvard's Alice DeAraujo and Ralph Mitchell show that microbes that flourish in an increasingly humid climate are turning the preserved remains of Chinchorro hunter-gatherers into "black ooze." "Is there a scientific answer to protect these important historic objects from the devastating effects of climate change?" said Mitchell. "It's almost a forensic problem."