A medieval grave may have held a powerful nonbinary person

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archaeology: (also archeology) The study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. Those remains can range from housing materials and cooking vessels to clothing and footprints. People who work in this field are known as archaeologists.

biology: The study of living things. The scientists who study them are known as biologists.

bronze: A metallic alloy that consists primarily of copper and tin, but may include other metals. It is harder and more durable than copper.

chromosome: A single threadlike piece of coiled DNA found in a cell’s nucleus. A chromosome is generally X-shaped in animals and plants. Some segments of DNA in a chromosome are genes. Other segments of DNA in a chromosome are landing pads for proteins. The function of other segments of DNA in chromosomes is still not fully understood by scientists.

clinical: (in medicine) A term that refers to diagnoses, treatments or experiments involving people.

develop: To emerge or to make come into being, either naturally or through human intervention, such as by manufacturing. (in biology) To grow as an organism from conception through adulthood, often undergoing changes in chemistry, size, mental maturity or sometimes even shape.

DNA: (short for deoxyribonucleic acid) A long, double-stranded and spiral-shaped molecule inside most living cells that carries genetic instructions. It is built on a backbone of phosphorus, oxygen, and carbon atoms. In all living things, from plants and animals to microbes, these instructions tell cells which molecules to make.

feminine: Of or relating to women.

gender: The attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as being the norm. Behaviors that are incompatible with these expectations are described as non-conforming.

gender identity: A term for someone’s strong internal sense of being male, female, both, neither or somewhere in between. While a person’s gender identity commonly matches the sex they were assigned at birth, this isn’t always the case.

genetic: Having to do with chromosomes, DNA and the genes contained within DNA. The field of science dealing with these biological instructions is known as genetics. People who work in this field are geneticists.

journal: (in science) A publication in which scientists share their research findings with experts (and sometimes even the public). Some journals publish papers from all fields of science, technology, engineering and math, while others are specific to a single subject. The best journals are peer-reviewed: They send all submitted articles to outside experts to be read and critiqued. The goal, here, is to prevent the publication of mistakes, fraud or sloppy work.

masculine: Of or relating to men.

medieval: An adjective referring to the historical period known as the European Middle Ages. It roughly spanned from A.D. 500 to about 1500.

nonbinary: Meaning “not one of two.” People who identify this way might feel they are both male and female, neither male nor female, or somewhere in between. Instead of he or she, nonbinary individuals may choose to go by the pronoun “they.”

parallel: An adjective that describes two things that are side by side and have the same distance between their parts. In the word “all,” the final two letters are parallel lines. Or two things, events or processes that have much in common if compared side by side.

psychologist: A scientist or mental-health professional who studies the human mind, especially in relation to actions and behaviors. 

range: The full extent or distribution of something. For instance, a plant or animal’s range is the area over which it naturally exists. (in math or for measurements) The extent to which variation in values is possible. Also, the distance within which something can be reached or perceived.

sex: An animal’s biological status, typically male or female. There are a number of indicators of biological sex, including sex chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive organs, and external genitals. It can also be a term for some system of mating between male and female animals such that each parent organism contributes genes to the potential offspring, usually through the fertilization of an egg cell by a sperm cell.

shaman: Someone believed to hold healing powers and to speak with the divine (or souls in the otherworld). The term comes from an ancient Asian language and means “one who knows.” There is a history of shamans being women, men and transgender individuals. Some were even children. Today, the term may be applied to certain Indigenous leaders who assume the role of healer, religious leader and/or advisor.

social: (adj.) Relating to gatherings of people; a term for animals (or people) that prefer to exist in groups. (noun) A gathering of people, for instance those who belong to a club or other organization, for the purpose of enjoying each other’s company.

testosterone: Although known as a male sex hormone, females make this reproductive hormone as well (generally in smaller quantities). It gets its name from a combination of testis (the primary organ that makes it in males) and sterol, a term for some hormones. High concentrations of this hormone contribute to the greater size, musculature and aggressiveness typical of the males in many species (including humans).

X chromosome: A portion of an animal’s genetic inheritance that appears on a sex chromosome known as “X”. Females will usually have two X-chromosomes; males will typically have both an X- and a Y-chromosome.

Y chromosome: A portion of an animal’s genetic inheritance that appears on a sex chromosome known as “Y”. Males will usually have a Y- and an X-chromosome. Females ordinarily have no Y-chromosomes.


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