Denisovans Conclusively Found Outside Denisova Cave For 1st Time

Denisovan mitochondrial DNA which was found in the layers of sediments in Baishiya Karst Cave on the Tibetan Plateau have been dated. Mitochondrial DNA, typically inherited from the mother, provides a narrower view of a population’s evolutionary past than nuclear DNA, which is inherited from both parents. No nuclear DNA has yet been found in the Baishiya Karst Cave, which is located some 1,700 miles to the northwest of Siberia’s Denisova Cave, where Denisovan remains were first identified. The new dating suggested that Denisovans first settled on the Tibetan Plateau some 100,000 years ago. Then they returned again 60,000 years ago. Because homo sapiens arrived in the region 40,000 years ago, and Denisovan DNA was found in layers dated to between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago, the Denisovans may have encountered our ancestors. The new, more reliable proof that Denisovans were on the Tibetan plateau suggests that they were relatively widespread across Eurasia.

Mummified Incan Llama Sacrifices Rediscovered

A team has found the naturally mummified remains of five young llamas thought to have been sacrificed by the Inca some 500 years ago at Tambo Viejo, an archaeological site on the coast of Peru. The animals had been prepared for the afterlife. They wore colorful string necklaces and earrings, and had been decorated using red paint and the feathers of tropical birds attached to wooden sticks. The five llamas were found under two buildings. One brown llama and three white ones were found beneath the clay floors of one building, in an area disturbed by looters. A single brown llama was found under the floor of a second building. “The adornments suggest that the offerings were very special,” said Lidio Valdez of the University of Calgary. “Indeed, historical records indicate that brown llamas were sacrificed to the creator Viracocha, while white llamas to the sun, the Inca main deity.”

The oldest flamingo on record was Greater, who lived to the great old age of 83 in Australia. Since flamingos usually live just 20 to 30 years, Greater lived the equivalent of 300 human years!

Mark Twain, the famous American writer, hated the US Postal Service. He called the cost of sending letters to England "highway robbery" and thanks to his many public comments, even scored a meeting with Britain’s Postmaster General in an effort to makes overseas shipments more affordable.

Q: Why are South American animals smaller than animals on other continents?

A: Smaller animals can more easily navigate dense rainforests, like what covers most of South America. An easy comparison is deer. South American deer have evolved to have narrower racks of antlers, compared to their closest relatives in North America.

When president al-Nimeiry enforced sharia law throughout Sudan in 1983, all alcohol in the country was poured into the Nile river. Or at least what they could find!

The Connecticut Witch Trials

Did you know that Connecticut had witch trials thirty years before the more-famous Salem Witch Trials? From 1647 to 1663, Hartford Connecticut accused 37 people of being witches. Leading to 11 executions. An influenza epidemic in New England in 1647 likely helped get things started.

Things began to slow down in the early 1660s. Ironically, this is partly attributed to the return of the governor of the Connecticut colony, John Winthrop Jr., who was seen as an expert in witchcraft! He had seen major alchemists in England stand against false accusations of witchcraft, and was well-versed in "natural magical practices" as well as alchemy. Winthrop therefore was skeptical of the accusations being made in Connecticut. He wanted to catch true witches not just squabbling neighbors. For instance, Winthrop's court established that multiple witnesses needed to bear witness to the same act of witchcraft simultaneously. This understandably results in fewer witchcraft accusations and no witches were executed in Connecticut after 1670.

Spain had a guardianship system for females until 1985. Girls and women -- all females -- had to have a "guardian." Guardians' permission was required for opening a bank account, making a contract, working, and driving. Unsurprisingly guardians' permission was also needed for changing residency or citizenship so females could not move to get away. Pretty terrible. But wait, it gets worse! Legally, a man could kill their ward if the lady had pre-marital sex.

Iron Age Horse Bridle Found In Poland

Some 150 decorative bronze pieces of a 2,500-year-old horse’s bridle were discovered in north-central Poland. The pieces form a nearly-complete bridle with only the bit missing. Reconstructed it is reminiscent those made by the Scythians living to the north at the time suggesting cultural exchange and influence. The bronze pieces had been wrapped in leaves and placed in a leather bag alongside a locally-made axe. The bag was then buried on a sandy hillside by Poland's largest river. It was probably intended to be re-collected then melted down to form something new; luckily for archaeologists the would-be smith never came back for his hoard.

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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