The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions. In descending order of seniority, these are: Only the highest two ranks automatically cause an individual to become a knight or dame, an honour allowing the recipient to use the title "Sir" (male) or "Dame" (female) before their first name (though men can be knighted separately from this and other Orders of Chivalry). Honorary knighthoods, given to individuals who are not nationals of a realm where Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State, permit use of the honour as a post-nominal but not as a title before their name. Awards in the Order of the British Empire in the Commonwealth Realms were discontinued with the establishment of national systems of honours and awards such as the Order of Australia, the Order of Canada and the New Zealand Order of Merit. Foreign recipients are classified as honorary members of the Order they receive, and do not contribute to the numbers restricted to that Order as full members do. There is also a related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are not members

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In saliva, clues to a 'ghost' species of ancient human

In saliva, scientists have found hints that a "ghost" species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa today.

Shedding light on the evolution of whale vision

Eyes are the window between an animal and its environment, and if your environment has changed as much as a whale's has over the last 50 million years, they tell an intriguing story about your evolutionary history. As marine ...

Reconstructing the sixth century plague from a victim

Before the infamous Black Death, the first great plague epidemic was the Justinian plague, which, over the course of two centuries, wiped out up to an estimated 50 million (15 percent) of the world's population throughout ...

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