Did You Know Japan Used To Have Wild Wolves?

Unfortunately, wolves have been extinct on Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu since the 1700s, and on Hokkaido since the 1800s.


"I shall be an autocrat: that's my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that's his."

Catherine the Great, who ruled as empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796.

The word "pet" comes from the word “petty” and was first given to humans, to mean an “indulged child.” Only later did it come to mean a household animal.

The Returning Soldiers Effect

During and shortly after World War I and World War II, the ratio of male babies to female babies went significantly up, in most of the belligerent countries. No one knows why.

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.

Las Llamas: An Archaeological Exploration of the Largest Child Sacrifice in History

Historical-nonfiction published a post in July 2018 about the discovery of the Las Llamas site in Peru. Archaeologists have recovered 269 children between the ages of five and 14 and three adults, all sacrificed in the same manner at the same time. National Geographic recently published a new article about the continuing excavations, with new information and some really good interviews with the archaeologists studying the site.

How Buddha's Aunt Convinced Him To Allow Women To Become Nuns -- With An Ancient Protest March

Buddha founded a monk's order in his lifetime. But he refused to start an order for women, even though his aunt Gotami -- who had nursed him and raised him as her own -- asked three times. So she decided to lead a walk of women who wanted to become nuns. Though in her seventies, Gotami and 500 supporters shaved their heads, donned a monk's yellow robes, and walked more than 100 miles to the Jetavana monastery where the Buddha taught.

When they arrived, covered in dust and with abused feet, Buddha again refused. No reason was given. The monk Ananda, one of the Buddha’s principal disciples and his cousin, offered to speak to the Buddha on the women's behalf. He is said to have asked the Buddha first directly to start a women's order. The Buddha said no. So Ananda asked whether women were unable to become enlightened? Could they attain the bliss of statehood? The Buddha replied that yes, a woman can become enlightened. So why can they not become nuns? With those words, Ananda changed the Buddha's mind, and the first order of Buddhist nuns was formed in the Buddha's lifetime.

So you don't give the Buddha too much credit, nuns were considered inferior to monks in several regards. There were eight conditions the new order of nuns had to follow: Nuns, no matter how senior, must defer to monks, even new ones. They could never chide or advise a monk, and yet had to seek the counsel of the male order and abide by the rules of both the male and female orders. Nuns also had to study two years before being ordained, compared to a year for monks, and had to live within six hours travel of a male order. The rules seem ridiculous and sexist, today. But Gotami had gotten what she wanted, through the power of peaceful protest.

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.

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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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