Secret History
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Meteor

Did the dinosaur-killing asteroid hit at just the wrong time?

Triceratops
© Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library
A cooling climate may have led to less diversity among horned dinosaurs such as Triceratops.
Animals might have survived if impact happened a few million years earlier or later.

Just before a large asteroid slammed into the Earth 66 million years ago, the diversity of plant-eating dinosaur species declined slightly, a new study suggests. That minor shift may have been enough to doom all dinosaurs when the space rock hit.

The scarcity of plant-eaters would have left them more vulnerable to starvation and population collapse after the impact, with consequences that rippled all the way up the food chain.

"The asteroid hit at a particularly bad time," says Stephen Brusatte, a palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh, UK. "If it had hit a few million years earlier or later, dinosaurs probably would have been much better equipped to survive."

Brusatte and his colleagues describe this nuanced view of the famous extinction in Biological Reviews.

Palaeontologists have argued for decades about whether dinosaurs were doing well when the asteroid hit, or whether they were experiencing a worldwide drop in the number of species. To explore this question, the study pulled information from a database on global dinosaur diversity, including hundreds of fossils found in the past decade.

Comment: One can detect shades of teleology and information theory in Earth history. For more background,read Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection: The Secret History of the World - Book 3 by Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Boat

Tonga may have been a vast seafaring empire

Tonga Tomb
© Geoffrey Clark
Tomb of the Tongan kings (Tui Tonga) at Lapaha, Tongatapu.
The seafaring empire of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean once spanned more than a thousand miles, serving as the hub through which distant settlements exchanged artifacts and ideas, researchers say.

This finding could help explain the rise of monumental structures throughout the Pacific starting about 700 years ago, scientists added.

Tonga is an archipelago of about 160 Polynesian islands, with the core of the kingdom covering an area of about 195,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers). The islands, located about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, were first settled about 2,800 years ago by the Lapita people.

Beginning about 800 years ago, a powerful chiefdom arose in Tonga, unique in Oceania - that is, the islands of the South Pacific - in how it successfully united an entire archipelago of islands. However, much remained unknown about how far Tonga's influence actually reached.

"How much voyaging and interaction occurred in the prehistoric Pacific has been debated for centuries," said lead study author Geoffrey Clark, an archaeologist at the Australian National University in Canberra.
Books

Marginalia: The sometimes rude doodlings in the margins of medieval texts

marginalia
© British Library, Yates Thompson 8, f. 294r.
Wild animals at war in the Breviary of Renaud and Marguerite de Bar, Metz ca. 1302-1305.
Flipping through an illustrated manuscript from the 13th century, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Jesus loved a good fart joke. That's because the margins of these handmade devotional books were filled with imagery depicting everything from scatological humor to mythical beasts to sexually explicit satire. Though we may still get a kick out of poop jokes, we aren't used to seeing them visualized in such lurid detail, and certainly not in holy books. But in medieval Europe, before books were mass-produced and reading became a pastime for plebes, these lavish manuscripts were all the rage - if you could afford them. The educated elite hired artisans to craft these exquisitely detailed religious texts surrounded by all manner of illustrated commentary, known today as marginalia.

Kaitlin Manning, an associate at B & L Rootenberg Rare Books and Manuscripts, says part of the reason why modern viewers are so captivated by marginalia is because we expect this era to be so conservative. For example, few Monty Python fans realize that the comedy group's silly animations are direct references to artwork in illuminated manuscripts. (Illuminated simply means decorated with gold or silver foil.) "I think it's such a shock when you have this idea in your head of what medieval society was like," says Manning, "and then you see these bizarre images that make you question your assumptions." The wild mixture of illustrations is a challenge to our contemporary desire to compartmentalize topics like sex, religion, humor, and mythology.

Manning was first drawn to marginalia while studying at the Courtauld Institute in London, where she was able to work with some of the most significant illuminated-manuscript collections in the world, including those at the British Library. "I loved the idea that marginalia was such an overlooked part of the medieval experience," says Manning, "so much that up until 20 or 30 years ago, scholars were completely uninterested and wrote it off as trivial or not meaning anything."
Info

Going incognito in the Jim Crow era with the help of turbans

Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne
© South Asian American Digital Archive
South Asian scholar Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne wore a turban to avoid anti-black discrimination in the American South.
There's a weekly trial on the Internet about who may be stealing culture from whom. Earlier this week, the defendants were Iggy Azalea and white gay men. A while back, it was Macklemore and the Harlem Shakers.

Now, we have come across a story from the Jim Crow era about cultural mimicry between people of color.

In mid-20th century America, the turban was a tool that people of color used for "confounding the color lines," writes Manan Desai, board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive.

At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. In some places, if you could pass yourself off as something other than black, you could circumvent some amount of discrimination. People of color - both foreigners and African-Americans - employed this to their advantage. Some did it just to get by in a racist society, some to make a political statement, and others - performers and businessmen - to gain access to fame and money they wouldn't have otherwise had.
Monkey Wrench

5000-year-old Cochno Stone carving may be revealed in Scotland


The Cochno Stone bears what is considered to be the finest example of Bronze Age 'cup and ring' carvings in Europe.
A set of mysterious, 5,000-year-old rock carvings could see the light of day again, after being buried 50 years ago to protect them from vandals.

The Cochno Stone in West Dunbartonshire bears what is considered to be the finest example of Bronze Age "cup and ring" carvings in Europe.

The stone, which measures 42ft by 26ft, was discovered by the Rev James Harvey in 1887 on farmland near what is now the Faifley housing estate on the edge of Clydebank.

It is covered in about 90 carved indentations, or "cups", and grooved spirals, along with a ringed cross and a pair of four-toed feet.

Because of the array of markings on it, the Cochno Stone has been recognised as being of national importance and designated as a scheduled monument.

Comment: Recommended reading : Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection

Pharoah

A colossal dilemma within science & religion: Humanity's true history

god man
"The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees." ~ T.H. White

Let me assure you - I do believe in God. I believe in the Divine, with a big 'D.' I believe in a vastness, which has created this Universe and others, which our human minds can hardly digest. What I don't believe in anymore is science, or religion.

Religion is nothing more than a human construct to try to explain the unexplainable. In the process it becomes political. Oh. So. Political.

Our religions institutions are now (and have been) used by the crumbling powers-that-be to divide us. We separate ourselves not just as fundamentalists, but also as 'believers' in dogma of every flavor.

Then - there's science. Truly a 'religion' in its protectionist fervor, and hell-bent on upholding the discordant, outdated, simply false projections that are supported by institutionalized information parsing. It is upheld with tactics no less pernicious than organized religious institutions.
Questioning is the most important aspect of science, and that is a direct threat to authority, and ironically scientists and the science institutions have become authorities and churches. They have become our priests of the modern era. Whatever the priest with the biology hat says must be true about life. Whatever the priest with the physics hat says must be taught as facts. . . Science is no longer serving the purpose of discovering truth. It has become the main method of control. Governments have always kept people in line by collaborating with certain institutions. It used to be organized religion, where there basically was no difference between state and religion. Now, there is no difference between science and state. Why? Because of where the funding comes from.
This 'scientific' paradigm is not meant to heal humanity, it is meant to keep it sick. It is meant to keep us as consumers - of drugs, of petro-guzzling cars, of toxic products that none of us needs. An old survey from the EPA estimates that 7.6 billion tons of industrial wastes from 60,000 businesses are generated. Most of these wastes are in the form of waste waters (97%), but they fill our air, our soil, and everything from shampoo to crayons.

Comment: For a wide-ranging, comprehensive look at the topics discussed above, read Laura Knight-Jadczyk's Secret History of the World series, volumes one, two, and three.

Bullseye

How early man hunted the Elephant's ancient ancestor: Gomphothere roamed North America around 13,000 years ago - and was hunted by Clovis


These sculptures, made by Mexican artist Sergio de la Rosa, show three elephant ancestors: (from left to right) the mastodon, the mammoth and the gomphothere. Archaeologists have discovered artifacts of the prehistoric Clovis culture mingled with the bones of two gomphotheres, an ancient ancestor of the elephant, at an archaeological site in northwestern Mexico.
* Archaeologists have Clovis arrowheads mingled with the bones of two gomphotheres in northwestern Mexico

* Gomphotheres were about the same size as modern elephants

An ancestor of the elephant once believed to have disappeared from North America before humans ever arrived there roamed the continent longer than previously thought - and was hunted by early man.

Archaeologists have discovered artifacts of the prehistoric Clovis culture mingled with the bones of two gomphotheres - an ancient ancestor of the elephant - at an archaeological site in northwestern Mexico.

The discovery suggests that the Clovis - the earliest widespread group of hunter-gatherers to inhabit North America - likely hunted and ate gomphotheres.

Comment: See also: A giant meteor - not overhunting - wiped out the woolly mammoth because it struggled to cope with the rapid climate change that followed

Info

Austrian 'Stonehenge' discovery

Circular ditches
© Wikimedia Commons
Reconstruction of circular ditches at Heldenberg, Lower Austria.
In a sensational find for Austrian archaeologists, aerial photographs taken two years ago on the southern outskirts of the Burgenland town of Rechnitz have revealed the existence of circular trenches dating back to the Neolithic Period.

The mysterious millennia-old sites are currently being surveyed by experts who believe they once served both as a giant calendar and a place for rituals. It appears that circa 5,000 BC there was a large circular area in a field on the southern outskirts of Rechnitz, surrounded by wooden poles. It was only after aerial photographs were taken of the district that remnants of an ancient trench system became visible.

Archaeologist Klaus Löcker told the ORF that the concentric circular trenches - some up to four metres deep - will now be made visible using magnetic measuring techniques.
Info

Prehistoric plaque reveals early humans ate weeds

Prehistoric gravesite
© Donatella Usai/Centro Studi Sudanesi and Sub-Sahariani (CSSeS)
Researchers studied the dental calculus of skeletons, such as this one of a young man, found at a prehistoric gravesite in central Sudan.
When looking for a meal, prehistoric people in Africa munched on the tuberous roots of weeds such as the purple nutsedge, according to a new study of hardened plaque on samples of ancient teeth.

Researchers examined the dental buildup of 14 people buried at Al Khiday, an archeological site near the Nile River in central Sudan. The skeletons date back to between about 6,700 B.C., when prehistoric people relied on hunting and gathering, to agricultural times, at about the beginning of the first millennium B.C.

The researchers collected samples of the individuals' dental calculus, the hardened grime that forms when plaque accumulates and mineralizes on teeth. Such buildup is fairly common in prehistoric skeletons, the researchers said.

"The oral hygiene activities were not as good as they are today," lead researcher Karen Hardy, a professor of prehistoric archeology at the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain, told Live Science.

An analysis of the chemical compounds and microfossils in the dental calculus point to the purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus), Hardy said. In the teeth of each of the skeletons, Harder and her colleagues found starch granules that share a chemical composition with nutsedge. A close look at the granules also revealed how these people likely prepared their food: Those from the earlier time period likely ate the plant raw or lightly heated, which would have helped make the roots easier to peel.
Info

10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens and UFOs found in India

Ancient Painting_1
© TOI photo by Amit Bhardwaj
One of the ancient rock paintings carved on caves at Charama in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district.
Charama (Chhattisgarh): Chhattisgarh state department of archaeology and culture plans to seek help from Nasa and Isro for research on 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens and UFOs in Charama region in Kanker district in tribal Bastar region.

According to archaeologist JR Bhagat, these paintings have depicted aliens like those shown in Hollywood and Bollywood flicks. Located about 130km from Raipur, the caves come under village Chandeli and Gotitola.

"The findings suggest that humans in prehistoric times may have seen or imagined beings from other planets which still create curiosity among people and researchers.

Extensive research is needed for further findings. Chhattisgarh presently doesn't have any such expert who could give clarity on the subject," Bhagat told TOI.
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