Roundup: Mortgage rates / Ancient findings / Shots for children

Homebuyers: The average long-term mortgage rate in the U.S. ticked back down this week following several weeks of increases. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 3.09% from 3.14% last week. Last year at this time the long-term rate stood at 2.78%. Rates remain historically low, though limited inventory and rising prices are leaving many potential homebuyers on the sidelines. Read the full story. 

Human relatives: An international team of researchers, including LSU geography and anthropology professor Juliet Brophy, has found the first partial skull of an ancient human relative, Homo naledi. The skull of the child, which died about 250,000 years ago, was discovered in the Rising Star cave in Johannesburg, South Africa. Brophy is the lead author on the first paper about the finding published today in the journal PaleoAnthropology. Read the full story about the finding from LSU.  

Initial doses: Louisiana’s top public health official said Wednesday that the state expects to receive 148,000 initial doses of the pediatric coronavirus vaccine, though the doses are trickling in across three shipments and may not be immediately available through health care providers. Dr. Joe Kanter with the state health department says he expects all of Louisiana’s vaccine providers to get their doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children by early next week. That will be enough shots to cover 35% of the state’s 420,000 children between ages 5 and 11. Read the full story.