‘Apewoman’ to leave Norway for Mexico burial

The remains of Julia Pastrana, the so-called 19th century "apewoman", are set to be returned by Oslo University to Mexico where she will finally be laid to rest.

'Apewoman' to leave Norway for Mexico burial
Photo: Wikimedia

152 years after her death in Moscow the remains of the woman which have been kept for research purposes in Norway since the 1920s will be returned to the country of her birth, according to a letter from the university to the ministry of education published in the Uniforum journal on Thursday.

Julia Pastrana was born in 1834 in Sinaloa, Mexico with the disease hypertrichosis terminalis. It meant that she had strong hair growth in both the face and the rest of the body and an oversized jaw.

Charles Darwin described her as "Julia Pastrana, a Spanish dancer, was a remarkably fine woman, but she had a thick masculine beard and a hairy forehead… and her face had a gorilla-like appearance".

Her unusual appearance meant that she was in demand at markets and circuses and she was exhibited as a hybrid between ape and a human and was also at times known as "Bear Woman".

Pastrana died aged only 26 on tour in Moscow in 1860, 3 days after giving birth to a child with a similar appearance. She had previously married circus director Theodore Lent and after her death Lent contacted Moscow University to have his wife mummified, displaying her in a glass cabinet for the remaider of the tour.

In 1921 Norwegian carnival owner Earl Jaeger Lund bought her remains, and until the 1950s, they were shown at the Lund amusement park. After a public outcry following the announcement of a proposed tour of the USA, the exhibit was finally removed from display.

The remains were eventually stolen from a warehouse in Groruddalen in August 1979, before they later ended up at the University of Oslo. The remains have rested in a sealed coffin at the Department of Anatomy in Oslo since 1997.

In June 2012 the National Commission for research on human remains recommended that the woman should be returned to her homeland Mexico for burial. It is unclear when the funeral can take place, but it's going to happen as soon as scientific tests have been taken, according to Uniforum.

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Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

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