Why Did New Guinea Warriors Prefer Daggers Made With Human Bone?
The indigenous people of Papua New Guinea did not develop metalworking before modern contact. Instead, they fought with sharpened bone daggers. Here there was a choice: fight with daggers crafted from human thighbones or daggers crafted from cassowary thighbones -- giant, flightless, dinosaur-like birds. The preferred weapon in Papua New Guinea was human bone daggers.
And a new study suggests why: the dagger fashioned from human bone is stronger than the giant bird's thighbone, largely because of the way the warriors of New Guinea carved the weapons. The human bone daggers retained more of the natural curves of the bone, making them stronger than the flatter, less curved cassowary bone daggers. Given that cassowary daggers are easier to replace than human-bone daggers, it makes sense that the human daggers were carved with greater care to make them stronger.
A surprisingly large number of countries have changed their names! A few more than once. (Note, this map does not include name changes due to independence or mergers -- so, South Sudan does not appear.)
Hawaii Has A Protected Valley, Where Its Ancient Plants Are Preserved
For the past 1,500 years, Limahuli Valley on Kauai has been a green haven, a wilderness preserved to exist just as the native Hawaiians experienced it. It is home to plant life unlike anything found in the rest of the world, with many endangered plants thriving in the valley.
According to Māori mythology the world began with a void, Te Kore, which contained nothing and yet had the potential for everything. Darkness or Chaos (Pō) followed Te Kore, then the sky (Rangi) and the earth (Papa).
6,000-Year-Old Skull Perhaps Earliest Known Tsunami Victim!
When the Aitape skull was discovered in 1929 in Papua New Guinea, it was mistakenly thought to belong to Homo erectus. But subsequent radiocarbon dating determined it was only around 6,000 years old and therefore a Homo sapiens skull. Now, a reevaluation of the skull and its findspot has added a new twist. Geochemical analysis of the sediments in which the skull was embedded suggests they were deposited miles inland by a powerful paleo-tsunami, making the skull perhaps part of the world’s oldest known tsunami victim!
Hawaiians used spears to fish in shallows or along rocky ledges, or underwater to catch rock fishes. Night spear fishing inside the reef was done by the light of kukui-nut torches: the bright light attracted fish in shallow waters. Photograph taken in 1948.
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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!