Quetzalcoatlus, the largest known flying animal ever, was as tall as a giraffe. It flew over North America during the Late Cretaceous, about 100.5–66 million years ago. The name comes from the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl.

An Unusual Maya Figurine

From Jaina Island's cemetary, where archaeologists have found figurines cradled in the arms of the deceased. This figurine is special because rather than depicting the deceased as a robust young adult, it shows a proud elderly warrior. He is definitely a warrior because he holds a flexible, rectangular shield in his right hand and wears a quilted armor tunic, both being requisite for Maya warriors during this period.

Earthenware figure, crafted sometime between 550 CE and 850 CE.

In the early 1900s, sex glands from animals were transplanted into human males in an effort to rejuvenate their sex hormones and counteract aging. Unsurprisingly, it did not work as intended. And the side effects were often fatal.

440 Years Old And Filled With Footprints, These Aren't Your Everyday Maps

In 1577, King Philip II of Spain wanted to know whom he was ruling and where in his vast kingdom they were. So his viceroy asked the indigenous groups in what is now Mexico to draw some maps for him.

In response, they drew maps blending indigenous and Spanish traditions. Sometimes rivers are straight, with tiny arrows in the middle, to indicate which way they flow. Paths have footprints or hoofprints in the middle, to indicate whether the paths can be walked or ridden. These beautiful maps, and their way of recording the landscape, are a silent testimony to the survival of indigenous worldviews into the late 1500s. Read the full National Public Radio article on the maps here.

In 1925, a Massachusetts woman agreed to give her husband a divorce, provided that he built for her an exact duplicate of the house that they shared in the local town. He built her house: on an uninhabited island without a fresh water source. Because the house had to be an exact replica it had pipes and running water -- filled with unusable saltwater. The house is affectionately known as "The Pink House" and is now owned by the US government as part of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit to Shawn Fitzgerald

Global Distribution of Penguins

This map is not very relevant to history but it makes me smile. Also, did you know that there are more species of penguins living outside of Antarctica than in Antarctica?

Who Invented Paint-By-Numbers?

If you guessed "whatever man is in that self-portrait" you would have been half-right. Leonardo da Vinci was the original paint-by-numbers inventor: he used numbered background patterns for his students and apprentices. During the 1940s, Dan Robbins (the guy in the self-portrait) heard about da Vinci’s method. He worked for Detroit's Palmer Paint Company, and Robbins convinced his boss to try it out, coming up with kits featuring landscapes, horses, kittens, and puppies. Things that amateurs would want to paint, in other words. And they were a hit! Sales hit a record $20 million in 1955.

Unfortunately for the Palmer Paint Company, the idea of paint-by-numbers is very simple. Which makes it easy for other companies to copy the idea. As competitors flooded the market, the Palmer Paint Company could not keep up, and was eventually sold. But Robbins -- and Da Vinci -- had made their mark. Paint-by-numbers kits have been continuously sold since they were first invented in the 1940s, and Robbins’s work of making art accessible to all has been celebrated by the Smithsonian Institution.

The most-remade movie in history is very recent: it came out in 2016! The Italian movie, called Perfetti Sconosciuti (“Perfect Strangers”), has been remade in Greece, Spain, Turkey, France, India, South Korea, Hungary, Mexico, China, and Russia.

  Yeibichai -- a female mask -- carved by Navajo artist Clitso Dedman (1897-1953). I was not able to find much clear information on Yeibichai online. If anyone knows about their place in the Navajo universe, I would love to hear about it -- just message me through tumblr or the website!     Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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