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Columbus’ cannibal claims Were No Myths But True Accounts

Conny Waters – AncientPages.com – Christopher Columbus’ accounts of the Caribbean include harrowing descriptions of fierce raiders who abducted women and cannibalized men. These stories have long been dismissed as myths, but it’s now time to re-write ancient history.

A new study shows Columbus was really telling the truth.

Using the equivalent of facial recognition technology, researchers analyzed the skulls of early Caribbean inhabitants, uncovering relationships between people groups and upending longstanding hypotheses about how the islands were first colonized.

One surprising finding was that the Caribs, marauders from South America and rumored cannibals, invaded Jamaica, Hispaniola and the Bahamas, overturning half a century of assumptions that they never made it farther north than Guadeloupe.

Columbus' Cannibal Claims Were No Myths But True Accounts

Caribs hailed from the Northwest Amazon, and archaeologists long believed they never expanded north of the Lesser Antilles. Detail from a painting by John Gabriel Stedman. Credit: Public Domain

“I’ve spent years trying to prove Columbus wrong when he was right: There were Caribs in the northern Caribbean when he arrived,” said William Keegan, Florida Museum of Natural History curator of Caribbean archaeology. “We’re going to have to reinterpret everything we thought we knew.”

Columbus had recounted how peaceful Arawaks in modern-day Bahamas were terrorized by pillagers he mistakenly described as “Caniba,” the Asiatic subjects of the Grand Khan. His Spanish successors corrected the name to “Caribe” a few decades later, but the similar-sounding names led most archaeologists to chalk up the references to a mix-up: How could Caribs have been in the Bahamas when their closest outpost was nearly 1,000 miles to the south?

But skulls reveal the Carib presence in the Caribbean was far more prominent than previously thought, giving credence to Columbus’ claims.

Columbus' Cannibal Claims Were No Myths But True Accounts

Researchers used 16 facial “landmarks” to analyze skulls, a technique often used as a genetic proxy. Credit: Ann Ross/North Carolina State University

Ann Ross, a professor of biological sciences at North Carolina State used a 3-D facial “landmarks,” such as the size of an eye socket or length of a nose, to analyze more than 100 skulls dating from about A.D. 800 to 1542. These landmarks can act as a genetic proxy for determining how closely people are related to one another.

The analysis not only revealed three distinct Caribbean people groups, but also their migration routes, which was “really stunning,” Ross said.

Looking at ancient faces shows the Caribbean’s earliest settlers came from the Yucatan, moving into Cuba and the Northern Antilles, which supports a previous hypothesis based on similarities in stone tools. Arawak speakers from coastal Colombia and Venezuela migrated to Puerto Rico between 800 and 200 B.C., a journey also documented in pottery.

Columbus' Cannibal Claims Were No Myths But True Accounts

For the past 30 years, archaeologists have debated how the Caribbean was settled and by whom. The skull analysis revealed three distinct people groups and migrations. One previous hypothesis proposed the Caribbean’s colonizers included people from Florida and Panama, but the researchers did not find biological evidence to support this line of thinking.  Credit: Ann Ross/North Carolina State University

The earliest inhabitants of the Bahamas and Hispaniola, however, were not from Cuba as commonly thought, but the Northwest Amazon—the Caribs. Around A.D. 800, they pushed north into Hispaniola and Jamaica and then the Bahamas where they were well established by the time Columbus arrived.

“I had been stumped for years because I didn’t have this Bahamian component,” Ross said in a press statement. “Those remains were so key. This will change the perspective on the people and peopling of the Caribbean.”

This new study also lays to rest an old puzzle. Scientists have wondered why a type of pottery known as Meillacoid appeared in Hispaniola by A.D. 800, Jamaica around 900 and the Bahamas around 1000.

The sudden appearance of Meillacoid pottery also corresponds with a general reshuffling of people in the Caribbean after a 1,000-year period of tranquility, further evidence that “Carib invaders were on the move,” Keegan said.

Raiders Of The Lost Arawaks

So, was there any substance to the tales of cannibalism?

Possibly, Keegan said.

Arawaks and Caribs were enemies, but they often lived side by side with occasional intermarriage before blood feuds erupted, he said.

Columbus' Cannibal Claims Were No Myths But True Accounts

Keegan had been stumped for years by the appearance of a distinct type of pottery in Hispaniola, Jamaica and the Bahamas. He now believes it is the cultural fingerprint of a Carib invasion and likely originated in the Carib homeland of South America. Credit: Ann Ross/North Carolina State University

“It’s almost a ‘Hatfields and McCoys’ kind of situation,” Keegan said. “Maybe there was some cannibalism involved. If you need to frighten your enemies, that’s a really good way to do it.”

Whether or not it was accurate, the European perception that Caribs were cannibals had a tremendous impact on the region’s history, he said. The Spanish monarchy initially insisted that indigenous people be paid for work and treated with respect, but reversed its position after receiving reports that they refused to convert to Christianity and ate human flesh.

“The crown said, ‘Well, if they’re going to behave that way, they can be enslaved,'” Keegan said. “All of a sudden, every native person in the entire Caribbean became a Carib as far as the colonists were concerned.”

Written by Conny Waters – AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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Bizzare & Odd

The predictions of the Black Mirror series that came true

“Black Mirror” is one of the most popular and gloomy series of our time. The plots of the series show us a possible scenario in the near future.

The creators of the series wanted to show us all the negative aspects of the introduction of various ultramodern technologies in the ordinary life of people. Well, they did it well. The bold predictions of the series disappointingly come true, and we can only hope that they will not lead to the same consequences as on the screen.

Season 1, Episode 3 – Contact Lenses with a Camera

The heroes of the series, perhaps, never complain about their memory – if they want to remember something, they find records for a specific day or event. The fact is that all their auditory and visual memories are stored in the chip behind the ear, and rewinding any moment of life and reproducing what is happening through the lenses is a task for several seconds. Sony has patented a similar idea. There is no chip in the concept yet, but the lenses have already appeared and passed the tests. The bottom line is that the system will record information during a special blink. Inadvertent eye movements will be ignored.

Season 3, Episode 1 – Social Rating

Episode 1 tells us about a girl living in a world that at first glance seems perfect. They are all sweet and friendly with each other, play sports, communicate a lot, and constantly smile. In fact, the heroine, like everyone else, is forced to hide her true feelings and emotions, be too friendly and even slightly intrusive, sometimes go against her conviction in order to achieve a high social rating. The more public approval a person receives, the higher his status, which directly affects the quality of life. Such a system has already begun to be tested in China. Citizens can receive “bonuses” for socially approved behavior. Let’s say the opportunity to educate children in a prestigious school, buy plane tickets, etc.

Season 2, Episode 1 – Virtual Life After Death

After the death of her lover, the heroine seeks help from a company promising to bring a person back to life. At first, technology helps her “communicate” with the deceased through messages, then even make calls. The application scanned social networks, photos, videos, studied habits and behavior, and based on all this created a copy of a person. A week after the release of the series, it became known about the launch of LivesOn. The app learns Twitter posts and continues to maintain a person’s account after he dies. This, of course, is not the robot that was presented to us in the series, but still impressive.

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Bizzare & Odd

Strange skeleton-like creature found in Costa Rica

A woman walking through a forest in Costa Rica was scared when she came across a strange stick-like creature hiding on a tree branch.

The video was reportedly shot by Antonieta Mora when she was picking fruit to make juice. Her usual trip to the wilderness took a strange turn when she noticed that something was moving on a tree.

“At first I thought it was a piece of moss,” Mora recalled, “then I thought it was a cricket, and then I didn’t know if it was a kind of mantis.”

Fortunately, she managed to photograph a strange insect resembling a bunch of spiny branches slowly crawling along a tree branch. Amazed at what she was watching, Mora was surprised that she had never seen anything like it, and “she had lived all her life in the countryside.”

Wondering what creature she encountered, Mora shared her video on a Facebook group dedicated to Costa Rican insects, and soon the secret was solved by one of the experts. 

The mysterious bug was a cricket species known as Markia espinachi. The unique wand-like appearance of this creature is actually just a natural camouflage that protects it from predators.

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Bizzare & Odd

A meteorite was called the source of coronavirus. Chances of contracting it according to blood type

Professor Chandra Wickramasingh from the Buckingham Center for Astrobiology in Britain put forward the original version of the emergence of a new coronavirus, which spread over the whole world in a few months.

According to The Daily Mail, scientists called a meteorite that exploded over China in October last year as the source of the virus.

A meteor in the form of a glowing bright fireball rushed through the sky in the northeast of the PRC around 0:16 in the morning of October 11. It is noted that the outbreak of the virus began in this region of China.

An explosion in a cosmic body could release viral particles in the upper layers of the stratosphere and ensure their entry into the stratospheric air currents that circulate around the Earth.

“The prevailing winds spread the disease to the most affected countries,” the scientist said.

However, other scientists are skeptical of this version, indicating the close relationship of COVID-19 with other well-known coronaviruses.

Recall that by the morning of Monday the total number of coronavirus infected in the world reached 153517 people, the total number of victims of the pandemic – 5375 people.

It turned out that for owners of group II, the risk is higher, and for I – on the contrary, lower

In a sample of a little over 2 thousand patients, Chinese scientists found that people with blood group II are more likely to get a coronavirus infection compared to owners of other groups. And the owners of the I blood group are less likely to get infected than the rest. Specialists published their research in the medRxiv electronic scientific library.

“We first discovered the relationship between the blood group and the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In particular, the second blood group (A) increases the risk of contracting the virus, while carriers of the first group (O) suffer less from it. If our data are confirmed, then these features of the virus should be taken into account in medical practice, “the researchers write.

Doctors and biologists from Wuhan University (China) and their colleagues from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen (China) are interested in whether there are other risk factors besides age, lung damage, chronic diseases, and undermined immunity.

They drew attention to the fact that many viruses, including hepatitis B, Norfolk virus and several other pathogens, are much more likely to attack carriers of the fourth blood group (AB) than other people. And the causative agent of SARS, SARS, rarely penetrated into the body of carriers of the first blood group (O).

Guided by this idea, the researchers found out the proportion with which different blood groups are distributed among ordinary residents of Wuhan. It turned out that in the control group of almost 4 thousand people, one third had group I, the other third had II, the fourth part of the examined had III, and the remaining 9.1% had IV. 

Blood and virus

In the second part of the study, scientists investigated the same proportion for 1.7 thousand infected with coronavirus infection COVID-19 in a large Wuhan hospital, of which 200 have already died. It turned out that there were more patients with group II in percentage terms than among healthy people – 37.8% versus 32.2%. Moreover, among the owners of group I the picture was the opposite – there were fewer, 25.8% among patients and 33.8% among healthy people.

Thus, the proportion of people with the first blood group among patients is much smaller, and with the second – more. For groups III and IV, the percentages remained comparable.

To test these ratios, scientists also examined information on 398 patients from two other hospitals – in Wuhan and Shenzhen. The hypothesis was confirmed: people with blood group II are found among coronavirus-infected people more often than patients with other types of blood.

What exactly makes carriers of the second blood group predisposed to virus attacks, doctors can not yet say. The researchers hope that a subsequent analysis of the data collected during the peak of the epidemic in Wuhan and other cities in China will help them find the answer to this.

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