Uatchitodon, the earliest known venomous reptile, lived about 200 million years ago. Its existence is known only from its surviving teeth.

Geologists Have A Missing Time Problem?

"The Great Unconformity" is the technical term for where layers of rock suddenly jump in time - skipping about a billion years forward. The good news is, researchers may have solved what's going on!

Sailing Is Extremely Old

Archaeological evidence from the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture, in modern Ukraine, shows they were sailing by 6000 BCE. In Mesopotamia around the same time, the Ubaid were also using sailing technology. To understand how impressively old that is: wheels were invented 1,500 years later, around 3,500 BCE.

Huge Cache Of 1700s-Era Rockets Found In India

More than a 1,000 were discovered, unexploded, from an abandoned well at a fort in the Karnataka state in southern India. They ranged in size from 12 to 14 inches long. And they were all filled with potassium nitrate, charcoal, and magnesium powder. From their make and their contents, archaeologists identified the rockets as Mysore rockets, the first iron-cased rockets to be used successfully in military combat.

The rockets are believed to have belonged to the Muslim warrior king Tipu Sultan, who ruled over Karnataka’s Shivamogga district at the time. He was also a resolute opponent of the British East India Company. He fought four wars against the British company, ultimately dying in the fourth.

Intriguing Cluster of Ancient Chinese Tombs Discovered

A cluster of 12 tombs estimated to be more than 1,500 years old has been discovered in northern China. The tombs are thought to date to the Sixteen Kingdoms period (304 to 439 CE). The tombs each had a passage, a door, and a path leading to the coffin chamber, and were arranged in two rows, perhaps because the occupants belonged to a single extended family. Genetic testing may be conducted to confirm that hypothesis.

What makes the finds particularly exciting are the never-before-seen burial customs. Some had a small pit in one corner of the coffin chamber, filled with stones. Some of the tombs' occupants had their feet held down by square stones. Figurines of warriors, servants, and animals made of pottery, and mirrors, stamps, hair clasps, pins, bracelets, bells, and coins made of bronze were also found in the tombs, all artifacts which have been found in other Chinese tombs, so a little less exciting.


"The life of a good book is far longer than the life of a man. Its author dies, and his generation dies, and his successors are born and die; the world he knew disappears, and new orders which he could not foresee are established on its ruins; law, religion, science, commerce, society, all are transformed into shapes which would astound him; but his book continues to live. Long after he and his epoch are dead, the book speaks with his voice."

Gilbert Highet, on Juvenal. Highet (1906 – 1978) was a Scottish-American classicist, academic, writer, intellectual, critic and literary historian. Juvenal (1st century - 2nd century CE) was a Roman poet who published at least five books of verses. They lived 1,800 years apart, proving the truth of Highet's quote.

Giraffes Were Thought To Be What Now?

The ancient Greeks and Romans thought giraffes were an unnatural offspring of a camel and a leopard. Due to the animal's camel-like shape and leopard-like spots. The camel's Latin name is pretty simple: "camelopardalis." Which is how the camel's scientific name came to be "Giraffa camelopardalis."

Archaeological evidence suggests the wheel was invented in Mesopotamia around 4500 BCE. But about 300 years, it was used for making household implements, not transportation.

When the wheel was put on a vehicle, it was only for war, not cargo. With heavy, cumbersome wooden wheels they were perfect for driving through - or over - enemy soldiers. Lack of good roads delayed the wheel’s civilian usage for a couple more centuries.

The Thai Royal Court Had A Treatise on Elephants

This particular one was made around 1824, one of a group of manuscripts created during the first years of the Bangkok dynasty, illustrating a traditional court treatise describing elephants. An official at the Thai court was responsible for the Department of Elephants, which maintained royal elephants, mostly albinos, as well as commissioning treatises.

The treatise begins with a series of divine elephants. Mainly based on Hindu mythology, the treatise describes their divine attributes. The next portion of the manuscript illustrates and describes a large variety of natural elephants. The typology system is complex and appears to be based on Indian manuscripts on elephants.

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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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