What is Animism?

Many of us are not taught about this very popular religion in school. Well, "religion" may be the wrong word. Way of viewing the world?

Beautiful, Deadly Spirals

Celtic bronze sword, from between the 400s and 100s BCE. Found at the La Osera necropolis in Spain.

Why Did Humans Evolve Less Hair?

Human's homo ancestors were likely much hairier than we are. Think chimpanzees and gorillas, not hairless cats. Why did humanity evolve to lose their body hair? There are many theories, including Darwin's that it was because our ancestors preferred less-hairy mates (in biological terms, sexual selection pressure), and that less hair meant less parasites and therefore a better chance of surviving.

The most popular theory today is that we evolved less hair to assist with regulating our body heat (in biological terms, thermoregulation). During some evolutionary phase after our ancestors became bipeds, they were regularly walking or running in open, drier habitats. Such activities in such an environment would make overheating a serious risk. Reducing body hair, to reduce heat trapping, and increasing sweat glands, for more effective evaporative cooling via perspiration, would therefore be evolutionarily favored.

This is the largest notched disk known to survive from ancient China. One face of the disk has inscribed, perpendicular lines. In his "Gu yu tukao," the Qing-dynasty scholar Wu Dacheng (1835–1902) hypothesized that the markings could be associated with an astronomical instrument called xuanji, described in early ritual texts as a kind of armillary sphere or model of heavenly bodies.

Notched disks like this one are rare, and only a few have come from known archaeological contexts. The documented burials span the late Neolithic through the Western Zhou period (circa 1050–771 BCE), suggesting that treasured examples may have been preserved for long periods of time prior to burial. Unfortunately, this particular disk comes without a known archaeological context. Based on a similar disk find, it is estimated to be from the Shang dynasty, sometime between 1600 and 1050 BCE.

Courtesy of the Freer Sackler Gallery's open content collection.

The Saffron Goddess

This is a restored Minoan fresco, from the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotini on the Greek island of Santorini. The settlement was destroyed in the Theran eruption sometime in the 1500s BCE and buried in volcanic ash, which preserved the remains of fine frescoes as well as many everyday objects.

Uatchitodon, the earliest known venomous reptile, lived about 200 million years ago. Its existence is known only from its surviving teeth.

Geologists Have A Missing Time Problem?

"The Great Unconformity" is the technical term for where layers of rock suddenly jump in time - skipping about a billion years forward. The good news is, researchers may have solved what's going on!

Sailing Is Extremely Old

Archaeological evidence from the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture, in modern Ukraine, shows they were sailing by 6000 BCE. In Mesopotamia around the same time, the Ubaid were also using sailing technology. To understand how impressively old that is: wheels were invented 1,500 years later, around 3,500 BCE.

Did You Know Australia Has A Mountain Range of Death?

It is called the "Great Dividing Range" and it is the largest mountain range on the continent. But why are mountains deadly?

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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