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Psychopath: King Henry VIII's Madness Explained

Henry VIII
© Corbis
A portrait of a middle-aged Henry VIII painted by Hans Holbein appears in this photo.

* Henry VIII may have had two rare medical conditions that could explain both his health issues later in life and the miscarriages of two of his wives.
* An X-linked genetic disease might have caused Henry to become paranoid and anxious after his 40th birthday.
* An unusual blood type might have caused the bodies of his wives to attack their fetuses.


Among a long list of personality quirks and historical drama, Henry VIII is known for the development of health problems in mid-life and a series of miscarriages for two of his wives. In a new study, researchers propose that Henry had an X-linked genetic disorder and a rare blood type that could explain many of his problems.

By suggesting biological causes for significant historical events, the study offers new ways to think about the infamous life of the notorious 16th-century British monarch, said Catarina Whitley, a bioarchaeologist who completed the research while at Southern Methodist University.

"What really made us look at Henry was that he had more than one wife that had obstetrical problems and a bad obstetrical history," said Whitley, now with the Museum of New Mexico. "We got to thinking: Could it be him?"

Plenty of historians have written about Henry's health problems. As a young man, he was fit and healthy. But by the time of his death, the King weighed close to 400 pounds. He had leg ulcers, muscle weakness, and, according to some accounts, a significant personality shift in middle age towards more paranoia, anxiety, depression and mental deterioration.

Comment: Unfortunately these researchers never talked about psychopathy, which seems to be what Henry VIII was.

Andrew Lobaczewski talked about the inheritance of psychopathologies through the X chromosome, in his book Political Ponerology:
It was discovered long ago that these two above-mentioned anomalies - hemophilia and color blindness - are inherited by means of a gene located in the X chromosome, and tracking their transmission through many generations is not difficult. Geneticists have similarly studied the inheritance of many other features of human organisms, but they have paid scant attention to the anomalies interesting us here. Many features of human character have a hereditary bases in genes located in the same X chromosome; although it is not a rule. Something similar could apply to the majority of the psychological anomalies to be discussed below.

Significant progress has recently been made in cognition of a series of chromosomal anomalies resulting from defective
division of the reproductive cells and their phenotypic psychological symptoms. This state of affairs enables us to initiate studies on their ponerogenetic role and to introduce conclusions which are theoretically valuable, something which is in effect already being done. In practice, however, the majority of chromosomal anomalies are not transferred to the next generation; furthermore, their carriers constitute a very small proportion of the population at large, and their general intelligence is lower than the social average, so their ponerological role is even smaller than their statistical distribution. Most problems are caused by the XYY karyotype47 which produces men who are tall, strong, and emotionally violent, with an inclination to collide with the law. These engendered tests and discussions, but their role at the level studied herein is also very small.

Much more numerous are those psychological deviations which play a correspondingly greater role as pathological factors
in the ponerological processes; they are most probably transmitted through normal heredity. However, this realm of
genetics in particular is faced with manifold biological and psychological difficulties as far as recognizing these phenomena. People studying their psychopathology lack biological isolation criteria. Biologists lack clear psychological differentiation of such phenomena which would permit studies of heredity mechanics and some other properties.

[...]The earlier phase of a ponerogenic union's activity is usually dominated by characteropathic, particularly paranoid, individuals,
who often play an inspirational or spellbinding role in the ponerization process. Recall here the power of the paranoid characteropath lies in the fact that they easily enslave less critical minds, e.g. people with other kinds of psychological deficiencies, or who have been victims of individuals with character disorders, and, in particular, a large segment of young people.

[...]Among individuals carrying other indications of brain-tissue damage, only two described types have a somewhat measured
inclination, namely frontal and paranoidal characteropaths. In the case of frontal characteropathy, this is principally the result of an incapacity for self-critical reflection and an incapacity for the abandonment of a dead-end street into which one has thoughtlessly stumbled. Paranoidal individuals expect uncritical support within such a system. In general however, the carriers of various kinds of brain-tissue damage lean clearly toward the society of normal people, and as a result of their psychological problems, ultimately suffer even more than healthy people under pathocracy.

It also turned out that the carriers of some physiological anomalies known to physicians and sometimes to psychologists,
and which are primarily hereditary in nature, manifest split tendencies similar to schizoids. In a similar manner, people whom nature has unfortunately saddled with a short life and an early cancer-related death frequently indicate a characteristic and irrational attraction for this phenomenon. These latter observations were decisive in my agreeing to call the phenomenon by this name, which had originally struck me as semantically overly loose. An individual's decreased resistance to the effects of pathocracy and his attraction to this phenomenon appear to be a holistic response of person's organism, not merely of his psychological makeup alone.

Approximately 6% of the population constitutes the active structure of the new rulership, which carries its own peculiar consciousness of its own goals. Twice as many people constitute a second group: those who have managed to warp their personalities to meet the demands of the new reality. This leads to attitudes which can already be interpreted within the categories of the natural psychological world view, i.e. the errors we are committing are much smaller. It is of course not possible to draw an exact boundary between these groups; the separation adduced here is merely descriptive in nature.
More on psychopathy:

On the Nature of Psychopathy: A Thought Experiment

Neurobiological basis of psychopathy

Authoritarianism and Psychopathy

Psychopaths' Brains Wired to Seek Rewards, No Matter the Consequences

Ponerology 101: The Political Psychopath

The Dot Connector - The Golden Age, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction

Ponerology 101: Lobaczewski and the origins of Political Ponerology


Palette

25,000-Year-Old Cave Paintings Discovered in Spain

Image
© Deia
Image enhanced by photographic treatment.
Paintings depicting horses and human hands made by prehistoric humans around 25,000 years ago have been discovered in a cave in northern Spain, regional officials said on Wednesday.

The red paintings, found by chance by archaeologists looking for signs of ancient settlements, were made around the same time as the Altamira Cave paintings -- some of the world's best prehistoric paintings discovered in northern Spain in 1879.

"It was a chance finding," archaeologist Diego Garate told Reuters.

"Although they were difficult to spot because they are badly deteriorated, our experienced eye helped us to identify them."

Experts will further explore the caves for evidence of prehistoric utensils or tools, officials said.

The first homo sapiens arrived in small groups in northern Spain around 35,000 years ago.

They cohabited for a time with the last of the Neanderthals and then developed a significant culture known as the Upper Palaeolithic, producing stone blade tools and decorating cave walls.

Magnify

Oldest remains of Caspian Horse discovered in Iran

Oldest Horse Caspian Iran
Gohar - A team of archaeologists working in Gohar Tappeh, situated in the northern Iranian province of Mazandaran, have discovered the oldest known remains of the Caspian Horse, the oldest horse breed in the world still in existence.

Also known as the Mazandaran horse, the discovery was made in a cemetery dating back to the late Bronze and early Iron age, around 3400 BCE, Archaeology Daily reports. "Due to the form, figure and size of the discovered remains of the horse, we now have the oldest evidence for Caspian horse ancestry at hand," said Ali Mahforuzi, director of the team in Gohar Tappeh.

Discovery of the Caspian horse, or the 'Kings' Horse', was made by the team during the eighth season of archaeological research in Gohar Tappeh, a 50-hectare historical site located between the cities of Neka and Behshahr, in the eastern part of the Mazandaran province.

Bacon

No nuts for 'Nutcracker Man': Early human relative apparently chewed grass instead

Ancient hominid didn't nut
© Melissa Lutz Blouin, University of Arkansas.
This photo of casts of two palates demonstrates the large size of the teeth of Paranthropus boisei (left), an early human relative that lived in East Africa between 2.3 million and 1.2 million years ago and is known as Nutcracker Man. Much smaller teeth from a human skull are shown on the right. A new study led by University of Utah researchers shows that Nutcracker Man didn’t eat nuts as had been believed for decades, but instead used the large, flat teeth to chew grasses or plants known as sedges.
For decades, a 2.3 million- to 1.2 million-year-old human relative named Paranthropus boisei has been nicknamed Nutcracker Man because of his big, flat molar teeth and thick, powerful jaw. But a definitive new University of Utah study shows that Nutcracker Man didn't eat nuts, but instead chewed grasses and possibly sedges - a discovery that upsets conventional wisdom about early humanity's diet.

"It most likely was eating grass, and most definitely was not cracking nuts," says geochemist Thure Cerling, lead author of the study published in the May 2 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Study co-author Kevin Uno, a University of Utah Ph.D. student in geology, adds: "This study provides evidence that Paranthropus boisei was not cracking nuts, but was instead eating mainly tropical grasses or sedges. It was not competing for food with most other primates, who ate fruits, leaves and nuts; but with grazers - zebras' ancestors, suids [ancestors of pigs and warthogs] and hippos."

Magnify

UK: Ancient Caithness site 'occupied for 1,000 years'

Nybster settlement
© AOC Archaeology
Nybster is one of Scotland's most important mainland broch settlements
The site of one of Scotland's most important mainland broch settlements may have been home to early people for up to 1,000 years, evidence suggests.

Archaeologists and volunteers have uncovered what could be the remains of walls dating back to 700 to 500 BC at Nybster in Caithness.

Andy Heald, of AOC Archaeology, said further investigations would need to be made to confirm the structure's age.

Compass

Italy: Ancient Ship Uncovered Near Rome Coast

Image
Builders have unearthed the remains of a 2,000 year-old wooden ship dating from the Roman Empire, near the Italian capital Rome's ancient port of Ostia. The ship's discovery, made during work at the site of a new road, was hailed as an important one by archaeologists.

"It shows that the coastline during during ancient Roman times was some 3-4 kilometres farther inland than it is now," said Ostia archaeology official Anna Maria Moretti .

The wooden ship was about 11 metres long, making it one of the largest ancient vessels excavated near Ostia Antica, a port city founded some 2,500 years ago and Rome's first colony.

Info

Controversy at the Smithsonian

On Monday, the Smithsonian Institution hosted a discussion surrounding whether or not to go forward with the proposed spring 2012 exhibition Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds. The Chinese artifacts included in the exhibition were found among the remains of an ancient trade-vessel off the coast of the Indonesian island of Belitung in 1998.

At issue here is the fact that the artifacts were removed from the shipwreck by a commercial excavation company, a practice that many archaeologists deem unethical. On April 5, a group of archaeologists and anthropologists from the National Academy of Sciences, including former Smithsonian Secretary Robert McCormick Adams, signed a letter to current Smithsonian head G. Wayne Clough condemning the exhibition on the grounds that it would "severely damage the stature and reputation" of the institution. Other groups, both within and without the Smithsonian Institution, have also expressed concerns.

The Arab merchant ship, which sank in the Java sea twelve centuries ago, contains the largest group of Tang dynasty artifacts ever found at a single site, including cooking utensils, measuring weights, spice jars, bronze mirrors, silver and gold vessels, and glazed ceramic wares. The discovery offers new and surprising insights into maritime trade patterns between the Abbasid Empire in the Middle East and Tang dynasty China.

The shipwreck was salvaged by a commercial venture called Seabed Explorations, run by German engineer Tilman Walterfang, who moved to Indonesia in the early 1990s in the hopes of profiting from the excavation of local underwater heritage.

Attention

Jordan police recover Christian relics said smuggled into Israel

Image
© The Associated Press
Jordan's archaeology chief Ziad al-Saad speaks during a press conference in Amman on April 3, 2011.
Jordan's archaeology chief says the manuscripts, which could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, were smuggled into Israel by a Bedouin.

Jordan's archaeology chief, Ziad al-Saad, said on Tuesday that security police have recovered seven ancient manuscripts from local smugglers.

The writings are part of 70 manuscripts that Jordanian archaeologists discovered five years ago in a cave in the north. Later, they were stolen and most were believed to have been smuggled into Israel.

Arrow Down

US: Scudder Falls site predates William Penn, dig reveals

Image
© Ed Hille
Field archaeologist Amadeus Zajac screens dirt from the dig looking for artifacts belonging to American Indians.
Beneath the roaring traffic of I-95 near the Delaware River in Bucks County, archaeologists are slowly unearthing the remains of another era - arrowheads, chunks of pottery, and perhaps even the remnants of a fire pit used by American Indians up to 1,000 years ago.

And they're just getting started.

During the next few months, workers will continue to strip away layer after layer of rich brown soil on a small piece of what used to be farmland in Lower Makefield, and they could find artifacts dating to 8000 to 10,000 B.C.

"It takes a lot of patience," said John W. Lawrence, senior archaeologist at the excavation site along River Road, where a new bridge is scheduled to be built in the coming years to replace the Scudder Falls Bridge between Bucks County and New Jersey.

The $322 million Scudder Falls project is the largest ever undertaken by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. Such archaeological digs are required by federal law when a construction project may threaten historic and archaeological artifacts.

Pharoah

Giant statue of Amenhotep III unearthed in Egypt

Image
© Agence France-Presse
Parts of a statue are seen during the excavation of an area close to the Temple of Amenhotep III in western Luxor. Archaeologists have discovered a giant statue of Egypt's famous pharaoh Amenhotep III at his mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor, according to the antiquities authority
Archaeologists have discovered a giant statue of Egypt's famous pharaoh Amenhotep III at his mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor, the antiquities authority said on Tuesday.

The 13-metre-tall (43-foot) statue was found buried in seven pieces at the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III at Kom al-Hitan.

It was one of two statues placed at the northern entrance of the temple, and was probably destroyed during an earthquake in 27 BC, the antiquities authority statement said.

"The archaeological team is now working to clean, restore and collect the seven pieces and find the head of the statue," the statement said.

It also said it was hoped the statue's twin would be unearthed soon.

Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt between 1390 and 1352 BC, is the father of Akhenaten, the "heretic pharaoh" considered a precursor of monotheism because he tried to impose the exclusive worship of Aten.