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Posted on Tuesday, April 17 - 2007

Roman gladiators were overweight vegetarians and not the muscle-bound men protrayed by actors like Russell Crowe, anthropologists say. Austrian scientists analysed the skeletons of two different types of gladiators, the myrmillos and retiariae, found at the ancient site of Ephesus, near Selsuk in Turkey."Tests performed on bits of bone taken from the skeletons of some 70 gladiators buried at Ephesus seem to prove that they ate mainly barley, beans and dried fruit," said Dr Karl Grossschmidt, who took part in the study by the Austrian Archaeological Institute "This diet, which has been mentioned in the oralhistory, is rather sad but it gave the gladiators a lot of strength even if it made them fat," said Grossschmidt who is a member of the University of Vienna's Institute of Histology and Embryology.

The Austrian palaeoanthropologists relied on a method known as elementary microanalysis that allows scientists to determine what a human being ate during his or her lifetime. With the help of a sonar, they could establish the chemical concentrations inside cells in the bone samples taken from the skeletons at Ephesus. From this, they could deduce how much meat, fish, grains and fruit made up the diet of the Roman fighting machines. A balanced diet of meat and vegetables leaves equal amounts of zinc and strontium in the cells, whilea mainly vegetarian diet would leave high levels of strontium and little zinc, Grossschmidt said. Fabian Kanz, from the university's department of analytical chemistry, said the gladiators' bone density gave us clues to how they lived."The bone density here was higher than usual, as is the case with modern athletes," he said. This line of testing allowed the scientists to debunk another myth, that gladiators wore strappy Sparticus sandals in the arena.

View: Full Article | Source: ABC.net.au

Views : 2141

Posted on Wednesday, July 02 - 2008

Submitted by Waspie Dwarf: Julius caesar's invasion of Britain in 55BC could not have occurred on the dates stated in most history books, a team of astronomers have claimed. The traditional view is that Caesar landed in Britain on 26-27 August, but researchers from Texas State University say this cannot be right. Dr Donald Olson, an expert on tides, says that the English Channel was flowing the wrong way on this date. They instead favour an invasion of the south coast at Deal on August 22-23. The claims appear in the latest issue of Sky and Telescope magazine. Caesar came to Britain with 100 warships and two legions comprising 10,000 men. But as he approached Dover'swhite cliffs, spear-wielding Celtic warriors lined up along the ridge, prompting the Roman leader to look for a better landing spot.

He ordered his fleet to move along the coast, and after travelling about seven miles they came to "an open and flat shore". What has been a matter of some debate is whether Caesar sailed left or right and when exactly his armada landed. Astronomical solution: Caesar mentioned strong tides, a full Moon and an ocean current. The astronomers Edmund Halley and George Airy previously used this information to try to solve the problem. But they disagreed with each other's conclusions. Dr Olson identified August 2007 as a rare opportunity to investigate the question of when Caesar landed. During this month, complex tidal factors involving the Moon andSun would unfold in a near-perfect replay of those in August of 55 BC. So the researchers conducted an expedition to the south coast of England in order to investigate their idea. On the day which corresponded closely to the traditional date for the invasion, Dr Olson carried out a basic experiment - dropping an apple into the sea off Deal pier at roughly the time of afternoon when Caesar described the fleet moving. The apple floated south-west towards Dover, suggesting that the Roman fleet could not have travelled up to Deal from Dover on that day.

View: Full Article | Source: BBC News

Views : 1126

Posted on Sunday, October 14 - 2007

A 19th century engraving of an Indigenous Australian encampment, showing the indigenous mode of life in the cooler parts of Australia at the time of European settlement.

Copyright Guardian

Before white settlers arrived, Australia's indigenous peoples lived in houses and villages, and used surprisingly sophisticated architecture and design methods to build their shelters, new research has found. Dwellings were constructed in various styles, depending on the climate. Most common were dome-like structures made of cane reeds with roofs thatched with palm leaves.Some of the houses were interconnected, allowing native people to interact during long periodsspent indoors during the wet season.The findings, by the anthropologist and architect Dr Paul Memmot, of the University of Queensland, discredits a commonly held view in Australia that Aborigines were completely nomadic before the arrival of Europeans 200 years ago. The belief was part of the argument used by white settlers to claim that Australia was terra nullius - the Latin term for land that belonged to nobody. Dr Memmott said the myth that indigenous Australians were constantly on the move had come about because early explorers made their observations in good weather, when indigenous people were more mobile than at other times. Many of the shelters the Aborigines built were dome structures.

In the rainforest area around Cairns, in Queensland, where there was heavy rain for much ofthe year, people would occupy such villages for up to a year, he said.
The villages had to be near a staple food source, such as rainforest trees, from which Aborigines could harvest nuts. "Some of the nuts were poisonous, but the Aborigines developed a way of leaching the poisons out of them by burying them in mud for a period of time," he said. "This source of nutrition allowed them to remain put instead of forcing them to go off hunting." Dr Memmott also found evidence of dome housing on the west coast of Tasmania, with triple layers of cladding and insulation. In western Victoria, Aborigines built circular stone walls more than a metre high, constructing dome roofs over the top with earth or sod cladding. Missionaries drew on Aboriginal technology for buildings,usi......

Views : 24

Posted on Monday, October 08 - 2007

The twin fields of cryptozoology and cryptobotany are bursting with tales of strange and unusual plants and animals. While the public at large is generally aware of such cryptid superstars as the Loch Ness Monster and the Sasquatch, few have ever heard of the Man-Eating Trees of Madagascar, or the Mongolian Death worms. In 1881 a magazine called the South Australian Register ran a story by a traveler called Carle Liche. He tells us that while travelling through Madagascar, he was horrified to watch the native Mdoko tribe sacrifice a woman to a man-eating tree. He stated that the places the woman near the tree, and after laying there for a few seconds, the tree"s tendrils took the woman by the neck and strangled her, beforeapparently engulfing the body.

In his 1924 book "Madagascar, land of the man-eating tree" former Michigan Governor Chase Osborn recounted Liche"s tale, and mentioned that missionaries and locals in Madagascar all knew of the deadly tree. Unfortunately, Liche"s accounts may have been an exaggeration, as both the Mdoko tribe nor the man-eating tree have ever been found, and the governor may simply have been embellishing a little bit more to make for good reading. From the steppes of Mongolia comes another type of creature that is particularly memorable by its rather disgusting appearance. The Mongolian Death Worm is a supposedly poisonous worm that has the appearance of a bright red bloody cow intestine. That"s right, a deadly cow intestine. Said to be about four feet long, the animal is said to spit a yellow substance when threatened that isdeadly on contact with human skin, and is even claimed to be able to kill with electricity in a manner similar to the electric eel. Shocking, but does it really exist? Expeditions to Mongolia to find the creature haven"t been particularly fruitful, however the story is so wide-spread that there may well be truth to it. With new species of animal, even large ones, seemingly being found all the time in such places as the jungles of Vietnam, it wouldn"t be too much of a stretch to suspect that the same may be found under the earth in the extremely desolate Gobi desert.

View: Full Article | Source: The Paranormal Report

Views : 1790


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