The earliest fossilized lungs have been found in an ancestral bird species. About 120 million years ago, the Archaeorhynchus spathula lived in what is today China alongside dinosaurs, before dying in a volcanic eruption. The newfound fossil is unusual for its preserved feathers and considerable soft tissue, which show that this primitive bird's lungs closely resemble those found in living birds.
Modern birds have hyper-efficient lungs. Flying is a tough workout, and hyper-efficient lungs process oxygen quickly and with less effort, so that birds' muscles can get enough oxygen during flight to keep going. This new fossil suggests such specialized lungs evolved earlier than previously thought.
Who Are The Basques, and What Makes Their Language Special?
I was recently surprised to realize how many people are unaware of this group, a significant minority in Europe for many reasons. Here's a brief introduction to who the Basques are, and why you should know about them.
There is evidence of hypnosis, or something very close to it, nearly 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. People would enter "sleep temples" where they ingested herbs and recited hours of rhythmic prayer in an attempt to be cured of whatever was ailing them.
Native Americans Used Tobacco Earlier Than Previously Thought
This little limestone pipe recently had a big impact: traces of nicotine detected inside suggest North Americans were using tobacco products at least 3,500 years ago! The carved limestone pipe was found in the 1930s near the Flint River in Alabama, but had been in storage at the Alabama State Repository until a recent team of chemists and archaeologists, working with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, came looking for it as part of their work examining ancient Native American pipes with modern techniques. And boy did they hit the jackpot with this one.
Tobacco plants were first domesticated in South America, and their introduction to North American native communities was not believed to have happened until around 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. This new finding indicates that tobacco use was established much earlier than previously thought in the what is today the southeastern United States. And that's pretty far inland, suggesting tobacco reached elsewhere on the continent even earlier.
Cemetery, In Use For Thousands of Years, Excavated in Albania
An ancient cemetery containing layers of about 1,000 burials dating back to the Iron Age has been found in southeastern Albania. The cemetery was actually three cemeteries: one from the Iron Age, one late Roman, and one from the Middle Ages. And under the bottom layer of the cemetery were what appears to be a Neolithic settlement. Archaeologists found holes in the ground, which supported the now-rotted wooden skeletons of small huts.
The birthplace of plant domestication in the Americas. The first New World country to gain independence from the Spanish Empire. The eleventh-largest country in the world, by population. Like the United States, Russia, and China, this is a country that any informed citizen should have at least a basic knowledge about.
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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!