Sea lions, walruses, and seals are members of the pinniped clade. The name comes from Latin "pinna" for fin, and "ped" for foot. So basically "flipper feet" or "fin feet."

A new analysis of a conch shell which was first uncovered in southern France’s Marsoulas Cave in 1931 suggests it was played as a musical instrument. It had previously been thought to be used as a ceremonial drinking vessel. Known as the Marsoulas conch, the shell has been dated to the Magdalenian period, between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago. Modifications made to the shell include the chipping away of its outer lip, and the removal of its pointed tip. Brownish material at this opening may be adhesive applied to secure a mouthpiece. CT scans of the shell revealed two internal holes that could also have been used to secure a mouthpiece. It was also decorated with red ochre whose chemical composition matches that of the rock art in the cave.

Musicologist Jean-Michel Court of the University of Toulouse blew air through the hole, and produced three notes approximating C, D, and C sharp. It is possible that a moouthpiece could have expanded the conch's range. And any music made by the conch shell would likely have been amplified by the acoustics of the Marsoulas Cave.

This is the song of the last male Kauaʻi ʻōʻō, recorded in the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve on Kauaʻi in 1987. Rats, pigs, hurricanes, and disease-carrying mosquitoes had reduced the species to a single pair by 1981, and the female was not found after Hurricane Iwa in 1982. The male was last seen in 1985. This appears to be his song, overheard two years later, the last trace of a vanishing species.

How Old Is This?

This is a view of the Amber Fort, built by the Raja Man Singh I, a Rajasthan ruler under the Mughal Empire (ruled 1589 – 1614). It was later significantly updated by his descendant Jai Singh I.

The most widely published authors of all time are a god, a man, and a woman. The Christian Bible is the first most-sold "author," followed by Williams Shakespeare then Agatha Christie.

The Japanese have a folk spirit that sneakily cuts people's hair. Named kamikiri, it eats only hair, and its name translates literally to "hair cutter."

Due to being an island, New Zealand has no native snakes. However, the sea off of New Zealand is often home to sea snakes. While not native to the area the warm subtropical currents carry them south from out of the tropics.

Yup'ik Mask of a Bear Spirit

The Yup'ik Eskimo of western Alaska believe that everything has a spirit (or soul) — people, animals, and things. All participate in an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The boundaries between the spirit world and the real world, and between the human world and the world of animals, are not always clear.

Masks with hoops around the mask manifest shamanic visions of the spirit world. The center is, of course, the bear spirit. The encircling hoops are called ellanguat, which means pretend cosmos or universe. The rings around the mask therefore represent movement between the human and supernatural worlds. The outer feathers represent stars or snowflakes. Finally, the circular holes signify a passageway between worlds, the opening in the Sky World through which Tunghak, Keeper of the Game, allows animals to pass from the spirit world to the world of humans, to replenish the supply of game.

The Yup'ik have seasonal festivals that honor the spirits of animals hunted during the previous year. Often, the festivals include masked dances.

Ancient Dairy Farmers Powered Indus Civilization?

A major component of maintaining the advanced societies of the ancient Indus River Valley may have been their development of dairy farming. Recent isotope analysis of lipid residues from ceramics at Kotada Bhadli show that dairy products were common by around 2,500 BCE.

This is the earliest evidence of dairy products in India. Domesticated cows and water buffalo can produce surplus milk and cheese, enriching the nutrition of the locals. And what the locals did not eat they could have exchanged with other cities.

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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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