Madagascar Does Not Come From Where You Think

In multiple ways. First, it is a break off from the Indian sub-continent, not African, even though it is very very close to Africa. Second, the first settlers on Madagascar between 350 and 550 CE were of Malayo-Indonesian descent. Specifically, from Indonesia, Sumatra, and Java. Yes, that is on the other side of the Indian Ocean, rather than across the short Mozambique Channel to Africa. These were joined around the 800s CE by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel and intermarrying with the Malagasy. A big clue about Madagascar's unusual migration history is that most common language of Madagascar, also called Malagasy, can be identified as part of the Austronesian language family.

Good News, Sad News

Good news: Ireland has confirmed its first 2 dinosaur remains found in the country! Sad news: Ireland has only 2 dinosaur bones ever found. That's because Irish is formed of rocks that are too old for dinosaurs, and or too young for dinosaurs.

These particular dinosaur remains were identified from a group of potential fossils found in between the 1920s and 2000. Most potential dinosaur fossils were found to be from the wrong period (or be just plain stone). The two that were identified came from the right time period and were definitely fossilized bones. One is a femur fragment of a four-legged herbivore called Scelidosaurus, and one is a tibia fragment of a two-legged carnivore part of the neotheropod clade. Because what is now Ireland was at the bottom of the sea at the time it is unclear how these dinosaurs came to land there. Perhaps they were swept out to sea, and settled into the Jurassic seabed where they were buried and fossilized.

Weird Yet Interesting

The only known example of the giant sauropod (dinosaur) Seismosaurus appears to have choked to death on a stone it was trying to swallow. Not because it was dumb, but because the stone could have aided its digestion. So many animals use stones for digestion, in fact, that such stones have a special name: gastroliths.

Strange Toothed "Toucan" Was Friends With Dinosaurs

A creature described as resembling a "buck-toothed toucan" that lived some 68 million years ago in (what is now) Madagascar has recently been discovered thanks to its fossilized remains. It was small, just 3.5 inches (9 cm) long. But it is outsized in its importance. The tall, scythe-like beak, while resembling the toucan, is something never before seen in the fossil record for the Mesozoic. Birds in the Mesozoic did not have specialized beaks. Or at least, it was thought they did not, until Falcatakely forsterae was found.

Archaeologists have found evidence that Tui na, a form of Chinese massage, was being practiced as early as 2700 BCE. One of the most famous ancient Chinese treatises on medicine was the Huang Di Nei Jing from the 200s to 100s BCE. It also includes how to use massage techniques and what diseases can be treated with massage. So massage has been around since the earliest days of Chinese medicine.

31,000-Year-Old Grave Reveals Oldest Known Baby Twin Burial in The World

A prehistoric grave in Austria may represent the oldest burial of twins on record, a new study finds. And what makes it even more exciting is that the twins did not die at the same time. Yet the twins were buried together in the same grave, separate from another infant burial a few feet (1.5 meters) away. Read the full story here...

Australia has a "burning mountain." It is actually an underground coal seam that has been on fire for around 6,000 years. And it moves! The burning mountain spreads about 1 meter (3 feet) a year. Australia has no plans to put it out, but rather, protect it as a nature reserve!

This 5,000-year-old megalithic structure is known by several names – Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic, Gilgal Refaim in Hebrew, and sometimes the Golan Stonehenge. It is constructed from small piles of basalt rocks. A lot of basalt rocks: together they weigh over 40,000 tons! The piles form 5 concentric rings like a target. The largest ring is 500 feet in diameter, and inside the smallest ring is a 15-foot-high cairn. It was once a tomb. But unfortunately it was looted long ago. Though the site has been studied since the 1960s no one knows who built it, what its original purpose was, or who was buried at its heart.

Hunter-Gatherer Burial Found in Indonesia

Indonesia' Alor Island has revealed to archaeologists the 8,000-year-old burial of a child. Although the child’s teeth suggest that they were between the ages of six and eight at the time of death, the skeleton resembles that of a four- to five-year-old. Additional research is planned to help determined if the child’s condition could be related to diet, the environment, or genetic isolation from living on an island. Studies of adult hunter-gatherers who lived on Alor Island have found that they mostly ate seafoods (understandable for a small island) which may have affected growth. The child was buried in style. Ochre had been applied to the child’s cheeks and forehead, and an ochre-colored stone was placed under the child’s head. Another unusual detail: the child’s arm and leg bones were not placed in the burial. Other burials lacking long bones from this time period have been unearthed on the islands of Java, Borneo, and Flores, but always with adult burials. This is the first time it has been found in a child's burial.

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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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