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Eight-mile wall of prehistoric paintings of animals and humans is discovered in Amazon rainforest

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An eight-mile wall of prehistoric rock art featuring animals and humans has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest after it was created up to 12,500 years ago.

The historical artwork, which is now being called the ‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’, was uncovered on cliff faces last year in the Chiribiquete National Park, Columbia, by a British-Columbian team of archaeologists funded by the European Research Council.

The date of the paintings has been based on the portrayal of extinct animals from the ice age such as the mastodon – a prehistoric relative of the elephant which hasn’t been seen in South America for at least 12,000 years.

There are also depictions of palaeolama – an extinct member of the camel family, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.

Human handprints can also be seen. In the Amazon most native tribes are believed to be descendants of the first Siberian wave of migrants who are thought to have crossed the Bering Land Bridge up to 17,000 years ago.

The eight-mile wall of prehistoric rock art featuring animals and human and created up to 12,500 years ago has been discovered by a team of team of archaeologists

During the ice age this land bridge stayed relatively untouched because snowfall was very light. It stretched for hundreds of kilometres into the continents on either side so provided a way for people to cross into different areas.

Although it is unclear exactly which tribe created the paintings, there are two main indigenous tribes of the Amazon which are believed to have been around for thousands of years – the Yanomami and the Kayapo.

The first report of the Yanomami, who live between the borders of Brazil and Venezuela, was in 1759 when a Spanish explorer found a chief of another tribe who mentioned them.

The team uncovered the historical artwork, which is now being called the 'Sistine Chapel of the ancients', on cliff faces last year in the Chiribiquete National Park, Columbia

The team uncovered the historical artwork, which is now being called the ‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’, on cliff faces last year in the Chiribiquete National Park, Columbia

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Among the paintings are  discovery hat were created up to 12,500 years ago, are ones depicting the now now-extinct mastodon that once inhabited North and Central America and , the palaeolama- an extinct camelid.

Much less is known about the origin of the Kayapo tribe, which is estimated to have a population of roughly 8,600.

Amazon natives didn’t keep written records until relatively recently and the humid climate and acidic soil have destroyed almost all traces of their material culture, including bones.

Until the discovery of these paintings, anything known about the region’s history before 1500 has been inferred from scant archaeological evidence such as ceramics and arrow heads.

It is believed that these ancient images, which give a glimpse into a now lost civilisation, were created by some of the first ever humans to reach the Amazon.

The fascinating discovery, which happened last year but was kept secret, will now feature in a Channel 4 series Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon, in December.

The site is deep in the heart of Colombia in the Serrania de la Lindosa area. It is so remote that after the British-Colombian research team drove for two hours, they were forced to trek on foot for another four.

The site is deep in the heart of Colombia in the Serrania de la Lindosa area. It is so remote that after the British-Colombian research team drove for two hours, they were forced to trek on foot for another four

The site is deep in the heart of Colombia in the Serrania de la Lindosa area. It is so remote that after the British-Colombian research team drove for two hours, they were forced to trek on foot for another four

Led by a professor of archaeology at Exeter University, Jose Iriarte, the research team was funded by the European Research Council.

Mr Iriarte told The Observer: ‘When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.

‘We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horse hair. It’s fascinating.’

The documentary’s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, shared her excitement at seeing the images being brought back to life.

She told The Observer: ‘The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.’

Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, shared her excitement at seeing the images being resurrected

Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, shared her excitement at seeing the images being resurrected

During their trek, the explorers were faced with some of the area’s most dangerous predators.

At one point the team even came face to face with the deadliest viper in the Americas – the bushmaster.

The only option for the team was to walk past the snake, knowing that if they were attacked there was a vanishingly small chance they would make it to hospital in time.

The territory where the paintings have been discovered was only recently unsealed after being completely off limits due to Colombia’s raging civil war that lasted for 50 years.

And managing to enter the area still takes careful negotiation.

Some of the paintings are extremely high up on relatively sheer rock face, which at-first baffled the research team.

However, professor Iriarte believes that depictions of wooden towers among the paintings serve to explain how the indigenous people managed to get to such extreme heights.

It is unclear whether the paintings had a sacred purpose but Iriarte noticed that many large animals are surrounded by humans with their arms raised – seemingly in a pose of worship.

Presenter Al-Shamahi added that some people don’t realise that the Amazon hasn’t always been a rainforest and was in fact much more ‘savannah-like’ thousands of years ago.

She said that it is fascinating to see these ancient depictions of what the land would have looked like so many years ago.

Iriarte is convinced there are many more paintings to be found in the region and his team will be visiting again as soon as the coronavirus pandemic allows.

Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon starts at 6.30pm on Channel 4 on December 5. The rock art discovery is in episode 2, on December 12. 

Source:- Daily Mail

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Dinosaur tail found in Chile stuns scientists – Phys.Org

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Miniature models of the Stegouros elengassen, a species of dinosaur discovred in Patagonia in 2018, is seen on display December 1, 2021 in Santiago.

Chilean paleontologists on Wednesday presented their findings on a dinosaur discovered three years ago in Patagonia which they said had a highly unusual tail that has stumped researchers

The remains of the Stegouros elengassen were discovered during excavations in 2018 at Cerro Guido, a site known to harbor numerous fossils, by a team who believed they were dealing with an already known species of dinosaur until they examined its .

“That was the main surprise,” said Alexander Vargas, one of the paleontologists. “This structure is absolutely amazing.”

“The tail was covered with seven pairs of osteoderms … producing a weapon absolutely different from anything we know in any dinosaur,” added the researcher during a presentation of the discovery at the University of Chile.

The osteoderms—structures of bony plaques located in the dermal layers of the skin – were aligned on either side of the tail, making it resemble a large fern.

Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton and estimate that the animal lived in the area 71 to 74.9 million years ago. It was about two meters (almost seven feet) long, weighed 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and was a herbivore.

According to the scientists, who published their research in the journal Nature, the animal could represent a hitherto unknown lineage of armored dinosaur never seen in the but already identified in the northern part of the continent.

The remains of a Stegouros elengassen, a new species of dinosaur discovered in Patagonia, is seen on display in Santiago Decembe
The remains of a Stegouros elengassen, a new species of dinosaur discovered in Patagonia, is seen on display in Santiago December 1, 20121.

“We don’t know why (the tail) evolved. We do know that within armored dinosaur groups there seems to be a tendency to independently develop different osteoderm-based defense mechanisms,” said Sergio Soto, another member of the team.

The Cerro Guido area, in the Las Chinas valley 3,000 km (1,800 miles) south of Santiago, stretches for 15 kilometers. Various rock outcrops contain numerous fossils.

The finds there allowed the scientists to surmise that present-day America and Antarctica were close to each other millions of years ago.

“There is strong evidence that there is a biogeographic link with other parts of the planet, in this case Antarctica and Australia, because we have two armored there closely related” to the Stegouros, said Soto.


Explore further

New dinosaur species from Chile had a unique slashing tail


More information:
Alexander Vargas, Bizarre tail weaponry in a transitional ankylosaur from subantarctic Chile, Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04147-1. www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04147-1

© 2021 AFP

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Total solar eclipse brings darkness to Antarctic summer – CBC.ca

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Video released by NASA shows a total solar eclipse as seen from Western Antarctica on Saturday.

The Earth’s southernmost continent experiences continual daylight from mid-October until early April, but the eclipse brought a few minutes of total darkness.

NASA said the period of totality began at 2:44 a.m. ET. 

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the sun’s light in some areas.

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For a total eclipse to take place the sun, moon, and Earth must be in a direct line. The only place that this total eclipse could be seen was Antarctica.

The eclipse was also expected to be visible partially from South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and Australia on Saturday.

North America gets its next glimpse of a full solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

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The International Space Station just swerved to avoid space junk – Deseret News

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The International Space Station had to adjust its orbit to avoid colliding with a piece of debris, said Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, on Friday, according to CNN.

  • “Five minutes ago, the ISS avoided a conjunction with the U.S. space debris, the Pegasus carrier rocket remnants,” Rogozin said, per the report.
  • According to Sky News, the mission control specialists “calculated how to correct the orbit” of the 100-meter wide space station to protect it from the collision.
  • The engines of Russia’s expendable Progress cargo spacecraft, which is currently docked on the station, will be used to boost the station 1.2 km higher, per the report.

Earlier this week, NASA postponed a spacewalk, originally planned for Tuesday, when it received a space debris warning from ISS.

  • “Due to lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the Nov. 30 spacewalk until more information is available,” the agency said via Twitter.

According to Sky News, NASA tracks more than 23,000 pieces of space junk, though there is much more debris too small to track but large enough to threaten human spaceflight.

And these debris travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph. “Even tiny paint flecks can damage a spacecraft when traveling at these velocities,” said NASA.

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