An amazing recent fossil discovery: a whole school of fish! A single slab of limestone from the Green River Formation in North America contained 259 fish of the extinct Erismatopterus levatus species. They lived between 56 to 34 million years ago. The discovery is exciting because its a rare case of fossils demonstrating behavior -- in this case, that fish have gathered into shoals for millions of years.

A Cool Map Of Languages That Are Secretly Different

Arabic, German, Italian, Chinese, and Thai are five languages that most people think are just one language. But each has dialects sufficiently different to count as a different language. Each of these five "languages" just happen to have, historically, developed into a single unified nation -- and that nation finds it much more convenient, for whatever reason, to claim its citizens all speak the same language.

The exception is Arabic. Thanks to the Islamic conquests, nations that speak derivatives of Arabic find it more convenient to claim they all speak the same language just as they follow the same religion.

Your Tudor Fact for the Day

Catherine of Aragon was the first-ever female ambassador in Europe. She was named the ambassador from the kingdom of Aragon to England in 1507.

At the time, Catherine was the 22-year-old widow of the former crown prince, Arthur. He had died in 1502, and Catherine had stayed on in England and become betrothed to the new crown prince, Henry. It was not because Henry particularly wanted her. No, Catherine was still in England because her father-in-law King Henry VII did not want to give back Catherine's very large dowry.

Catherine’s position was precarious. She had little money, as neither her parents nor her penny-pinching father-in-law wished to support her financially. She had no status, as her husband was dead and her betrothed had remained just that for going on three years. Naming Catherine ambassador, therefore, was less a compliment to her diplomatic skills and more a way to bolster her position and therefore her parent’s.

Boxing Is Prehistoric

Boxing is mentioned in Homer's "Iliad" which was an oral tradition for hundreds of years before writing became widespread. And since "prehistory" means "before writing" that means the sport is prehistoric.

Feathers were highly valued in Hawai'i and were an important part of their religion. Feathers were used in representations of the gods. A high-status cloak made of feathers, called an 'ahu 'ula, was a marker of prestige and power. 'Ahu 'ula were worn with feathered helmets, or mahiole -- a chief would have been decked from head to toe in feathers! When Hawai'i became a kingdom in 1795, they were influenced by the monarchies of Europe, and eventually gave themselves a coat of arms. On it were two figures wearing red and yellow 'ahu 'ula and a mahiole.

Ancient Chinese Elixir of Immortality Found - In A Tomb

A wealthy individual living in the Chinese city of Luoyang during the Western Han Dynasty (202 BCE to 8 CE) was buried with an assortment of fine bronze, jade, and ceramic objects. Among their burial goods was a jar containing a yellow liquid which smelled alcoholic. Amazingly, it had survived over 2,000 years without seeping away.

Although initially thought to be rice wine, a chemical analysis has revealed the liquid to be a mixture of potassium nitrate and alunite. These minerals are the main ingredients of the legendary “elixir of immortality” mentioned in ancient Chinese texts. Given that it was found as part of a burial, the elixir did not work.

Still, this is a major find. It is the first hard evidence that one of the various “immortality medicines” written about in ancient Chinese texts were actually made. And perhaps drunk, too.

Does Time Work Differently in Different Languages?

Different languages have slightly different ways of speaking about time. But does that mean that time itself is understood differently, depending on your language?

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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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