Brazil Liked Electing Joke Candidates

A female rhinoceros in Brazil was elected to São Paulo’s municipal council by a landslide 50,000 votes on October 4, 1959. This was in protest against corrupt politics, food shortages, and the high cost of living in Brazil.

Several years earlier, in 1954, a goat was elected to the city council of Jaboata, which is also in Brazil. This councilman’s name was Smelly.

How Swaziland Got Its Name

Swaziland's King Mswati II (ruled 1840 to 1868) is considered the greatest fighting king in Swaziland's history. He fought competing Zulu tribes and some of his own brothers for the throne. Under his reign, the country's boundaries were greatly increased, beyond its present-day borders. "Swazi" is the anglicized version of Mswati II's name.

Ibn Sina Was Ahead Of His Time

The Persian physician Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) published his Canon of Medicine around 1025 CE. Although the specifics of bacteria and microorganisms were unknown, he discussed the contagious spreading of sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis, and the usefulness of quarantines to limit the spread of certain diseases. Ibn Sīnā's ideas were known to physicians, but it would take until the 1800s for the invention of the actual field of epidemiology, however.

Prehistoric Prince Victim of Earliest-Known Political Assassination

In 1877, archaeologists found one of the richest European troves from the Early Bronze Age buried under the Leubinger mound in Germany. Belonging to the Unetice culture, the mound centers around the burial of a man who died around 1940 BCE, nicknamed the "Prince of Helmsdorf." A modern re-examination of his skeleton suggests he may have died by assassination!

In 2002, scientists inspecting the prince's remains “identified injury”, but were unable to present conclusive evidence that he had been murdered. In December 2018 it was announced that new inspection using the latest technology had found three clear injuries. The man was likely stuck more than three times -- these three were just the ones that would mark bones.

The attacker wielded a dagger with a blade of at least 15 centimeters (just under 6 inches). The killer stabbed the prince in the stomach and the spine, and given the penetration of the thrusts, the victim was either pinned against the wall or lying on the floor. These two injuries would have been enough to kill him on their own, because they would have severed arteries, leading to certain death. The prince was also stabbed above and behind the collar bone. It would have split his shoulder blade, seriously injuring his lungs and the important veins in the area. The researchers noted that this was the place Roman gladiators would set their death blow. The prince was attacked deliberately, likely by someone with experience in such things, because each wound was well-placed to kill him.

Japan Deployed The Largest Battleships of WW2

The Yamato-class ships consisted of the namesake Yamato herself, and her sister ship the Musashi. They were the largest battleships to be put into service in World War 2. With an enormous hull length stretching 863 feet, the Yamato-class was greater in size than all other battleships worldwide, with 20 percent more water displacement than any American vessel. The USS Iowa-class vessels were the only battleships longer than the Yamato-class ships at 887 feet. But the USS Iowa was still less massive than the Yamato: the USS Iowa displaced 45,000 long tons of water on average whereas the Yamato displaced 70,000 long tons on average.

The Musashi was sunk on October 24, 1944 in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Yamato was sunk when intercepted on its way to Okinawa on April 7, 1945; its mission was to run itself aground then defend Okinawa until the ship was destroyed.

Your Tooth Knows Your Gender?

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have developed a technique to determine the sex of skeletal remains based on amino acid sequences in tooth enamel proteins. The enamel is dissolved in acid, heated, ground, and treated with an enzyme before it is examined with a mass spectrometer.  The test works because a protein found in tooth enamel comes from a sex-specific gene. This new technique can be very useful for studying remains where just a few bones -- like a tooth -- survive.

Where Is The Mind Located?

Now we know the answer: the brain. But ancient humanity did not know. A number of famous thinkers have placed the mind in a number of places around the body

  • Aristotle: the heart. It is the center of the body and the first organ to be discerned in an embryo
  • Thomas Aquinas: the ventricles (empty spaces) of the brain. Being pure spirit, the mind lives in the empty parts of the body and survives beyond death.
  • Rene Descartes: the pineal gland.

The First Fake Eye

The earliest prosthetic eye is nearly 5,000 years old! Found in a six-foot-tall female skeleton, interred in the Burnt City, an ancient city in southeastern Iran. Shaped like a half-sphere, it appears to be made of natural tar mixed with animal fat, covered in a thin layer of gold, and engraved with a circular iris with gold lines like sun rays inside. Not exactly a convincing fake. But it was not meant to deceive, we think, but glitter and catch the light.

Holes on both sides of the eye likely held the eyeball in place. And we know it was used, not just added after death: microscopic studies of the skeleton’s eye socket show the prosthetic eye was worn while the woman was alive.

You can see photos of the artificial eye here.

What Was The Second Agricultural Revolution?

The First Agricultural Revolution occurred around 10,000 years ago when humans first domesticated plants. In the early 1700s the Industrial Revolution led to faster and more efficient farming technology, which helped usher in the Second Agricultural Revolution from 1700 to 1900 in developed countries. Many less developed countries are considered to be still experiencing the Second Agricultural Revolution.

Caral: Peru's Cradle of Civilization

Civilization, as we understand it today, arose in Peru in the harsh Atacama Desert. In this it was unique of the first civilizations. The first ancient civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, and China were all based around major rivers and the fertile valleys the rivers flowed through. The Norte Chico of Peru also relied on rivers, but they had to create their fertile valleys, using widespread irrigation. The Norte Chico are also the only known "first civilization" to rely heavily on seafood. Their cities show significant marine remains, both at coastal and inland cities, which has led archaeologists to theorize that their main protein source was the sea.

Caral was the most ancient city of the Norte Chico (we think). Located in the Supe Valley, at its peak between 2500 and 2000 BCE the city boasted a population of more than 3,000, with large plazas and a temple complex to an unknown deity. Norte Chico cities have been found in the Supe Valley, the Fortaleza, the Pativilca, and a bit further south the Huaura River. Archaeological studies suggest Caral's layout was the inspiration for other cities, supporting Caral's status as the first city to have been built.

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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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