The unknown origins of the incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia

The unknown origins of the incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia


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In Western Bolivia, thousands and thousands of perfectly straight paths are etched into the ground, creating an amazing sight. These lines, otherwise known as geoglyphs, were etched into the ground over a period of 3,000 years by indigenous people living near the volcano Sajama. It is unknown exactly when or why they were constructed, but they remain a mystery, as it is hard to imagine how the construction of something of such magnitude could pre-date modern technology.

The Sajama lines cover an area of approximately 22,525 square kilometers, or 8,700 square miles. They are perfectly straight lines, formed into a web or network. Each individual line is 1-3 meters, or 3-10 feet wide. The longest lines measure 20 kilometers, or 12 miles in length. The creation of these lines without the aid of modern technology is a marvel. They were etched into the ground by scraping vegetation to the side, and scouring away dark surface material consisting of soil and oxidized rock, to reveal a light subsurface. The precision of the Sajama lines is remarkable. According to scholars at the University of Pennsylvania:

While many of these sacred lines extend as far as ten or twenty kilometers (and perhaps further), they all seem to maintain a remarkable straightness despite rugged topography and natural obstacles. The sheer number and length of these lines is often difficult to perceive from ground level, but from the air or hilltop vantage points, they are stunning.

Like the Nazca Lines of Peru, the Sajama Lines were created by scraping away surface material. ( Source)

Some believe that the indigenous people used the lines as a navigational tool during sacred pilgrimages. Wak'as (shrines), chullpas (burial towers) and hamlets are interspersed among the lines, creating a cultural landscape.

The striking radial arrangement of the Sajama Lines ( Source)

The Sajama lines were first accounted for in 1932 by traveler Aimé Felix Tschiffely. A few years later, anthropologist Alfred Metraux published ethnographic fieldwork about the Aymara and Chipaya people of the Carangas region, bringing the lines and cultural landscape to the attention of scholars. More recently, the Landmarks Foundation has worked to protect the lines from threats of erosion, unchecked development and tourism in the area, and other dangers that come from the absence of a management plan. They have studied the lines and created a database to help protect them. Working closely with the University of Pennsylvania, the Landmarks Foundation has created the “Tierra Sajama Project,” utilizing analytic digital media tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) to map, describe, and analyze the lines. The Tierra Sajama Project achieved the objectives of:

  • Creating a computer-database of maps and pertinent information about the lines, local vegetation, and relevant topography
  • Analyzing and interpreting the patterns and meanings of various land features such as mountaintop shrines and religious structures to determine possible alignments to the sacred lines
  • Developing proposals that provided for long-term protection of the lines and enhanced appreciation of the sacred landscape

Unfortunately, the analytical mapping of the size, shape, and location of the Sajama lines doesn’t answer the many questions which remain, such as who created them, what was their purpose, and what tools did they use? Answering these questions may help us to understand another piece of human history. For now, we will have to continue to marvel at the vast area covered by the lines, and the amount of effort it must have taken to create them, without fully understanding their purpose or function.

Featured image: The Sajama Lines, Bolivia ( Source )

Sources

Sajama Lines – Wikipedia

Nevado Sajama – Desert Mountaineer

Geoglyphs of the Andes – Basement Geographer

Sajama Lines, Sajama, Bolivia – Archive.today

By M R Reese


    The unknown origins of the incredible Sajama Lines of Bolivia

    In Western Bolivia, thousands and thousands of perfectly straight paths are etched into the ground, creating an amazing sight. These lines, otherwise known as geoglyphs, were etched into the ground over a period of 3,000 years by indigenous people living near the volcano Sajama. It is unknown exactly when or why they were constructed, but they remain a mystery, as it is hard to imagine how the construction of something of such magnitude could pre-date modern technology.

    The Sajama lines cover an area of approximately 22,525 square kilometers, or 8,700 square miles. They are perfectly straight lines, formed into a web or network. Each individual line is 1-3 meters, or 3-10 feet wide. The longest lines measure 20 kilometers, or 12 miles in length. The creation of these lines without the aid of modern technology is a marvel. They were etched into the ground by scraping vegetation to the side, and scouring away dark surface material consisting of soil and oxidized rock, to reveal a light subsurface. The precision of the Sajama lines is remarkable. According to scholars at the University of Pennsylvania:


    TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

    • UNESCO-listed capital city of Sucre
    • World's largest salt flats
    • Volcanoes of Eduardo Avaroa Reserve
    • The dizzying heights of El Alto
    • Lake Titicaca, largest lake in South America
    • The high-altitude capital city of La Paz
    • Senda Verde Wildlife Sanctuary

    Places Visited

    Santa Cruz - Samaipata - Sucre - Potosí - Uyuni Salt Flats - Ojo de Perdiz - Laguna Colorada - La Paz - El Alto City - Lake Titicaca - Coroico


    Later Contributions

    Armstrong remained with NASA, serving as deputy associate administrator for aeronautics until 1971. After leaving NASA, he joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati as a professor of aerospace engineering. Armstrong remained at the university for eight years. Staying active in his field, he served as the chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation, Inc., from 1982 to 1992.

    Helping out at a difficult time, Armstrong served as vice chairman of the Presidential Commission on the space shuttle Challenger accident in 1986. The commission investigated the explosion of the Challenger on January 28, 1986, which took the lives of its crew, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

    Despite being one of the most famous astronauts in history, Armstrong has largely shied away from the public eye. He gave a rare interview to the news program 60 Minutes in 2006. He described the moon to interviewer Ed Bradley, saying "It&aposs a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It&aposs an interesting place to be. I recommend it." That same year, his authorized biography came out. "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" was written by James R. Hansen, who conducted interviews with Armstrong, his family, and his friends and associates.

    Armstrong and his first wife divorced in 1994. He spent his final years with his second wife, Carol, in Indian Hill, Ohio. He died at age 82 on August 25, 2012, several weeks after undergoing heart surgery.


    Educating Humanity

    Geoglyphs are giant images drawn on the surface of the ground. The Nazca Lines are probably the most famous geoglyph, but just 200 kilometers (130 mi) from the Nazca Plain is an even more mysterious example.
    The Paracas Candelabra measures about 180 meters (600 ft) across. Despite the close proximity to the Nazca Lines, this geoglyph was likely not built by the Nazca people. Ancient pottery found at the site dates to 200 B.C., which means that the Paracas culture is most likely responsible. But while we have some idea who built the candelabra and when, the question of why leaves archaeologists baffled.
    Some attribute a religious value to the geoglyph, as locals consider it to be the staff of Viracocha, an ancient creator god. Others, however, suggest a more practical purpose. The Candelabra is carved into a hill. The angle and huge size means that it can be seen from a great distance, as far as 20 kilometers (12 mi) out to sea. This has led some to believe that it was used as a landmark for sailors.



    Phaistos Disc

    The mystery of the Phaistos Disc is a story that sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. Discovered by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in 1908 in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos, the disc is made of fired clay and contains mysterious symbols that may represent an unknown form of hieroglyphics. It is believed that it was designed sometime in the second millennium BC.

    Some scholars believe that the hieroglyphs resemble symbols of Linear A and Linear B, scripts once used in ancient Crete. The only problem? Linear A also eludes decipherment.

    Today the disc remains one of the most famous puzzles of archaeology.

    The Uffington White Horse

    The White Horse in Uffington, a 115-meter (374 ft) hill figure, was created by digging deep trenches filled with crushed chalk. This animal appears to be a horse, and similar depictions appear on ancient coins dated to the Bronze Age. Near the figure are burial mounds from the Neolithic period. These graves were reused up until the Saxon period, leading some to claim that the White Horse is not as old as previously thought.

    Two factors separate the Uffington White Horse from similar landmarks. For starters, the White Horse is much, much older. Many other horse figures date to as late as the 18th century, so they were most likely done in honor of the original White Horse. The other factor is the condition of the figure. Considering how old it is, the White Horse is in remarkable shape , most likely thanks to the locals who kept it in good repair.




    The Tartaria Tablets


    Most archaeologists used to agree that several regions developed writing independently between 3500 and 3100 B.C. The earliest examples we could find showed photo-writing from cultures such as the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. However, if the Tartaria tablets are genuine, then they predate the other discoveries by 2,000 years.

    In that case, the earliest writing belongs to the Vinca civilization, a Neolithic culture present throughout southeastern Europe between 5500 and 4500 B.C. Various other artifacts from that era belonging to the Vinca culture have been found, also with symbols on them.

    The mystery regarding the tablets comes from their age. Initially, museum employees baked the clay tablets to better preserve them. The process rendered accurate carbon dating impossible. So at first, they appeared to be from around 2700 B.C. Only recently have newer tests suggested that they are much older.

    The White Shaman Rock

    The Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis

    The Linen Book of Zagreb is the longest text written in the Etruscan language. The language had a huge impact on the world since it heavily influenced Latin, but nowadays, it is mostly lost. Only a few ancient documents feature it, so large chunks of the Liber Linteus are still untranslated to this day. From what can be gathered from the book, it appears to be a ritual calendar, although it was initially thought to detail funeral rituals.

    It’s astonishing that the Liber Linteus survived all this time despite being from the third century B.C. It is extremely uncommon for linen books to last that long—but the Liber Linteus was no ordinary book. It survived because it was repurposed. The book was cut into pieces and used by ancient Egyptians to wrap a mummy.

    This meant that the Liber Linteus was preserved in good condition, but it went unstudied for a long period of time. Even when it was found, most people who saw it simply assumed that the text was Egyptian.

    Sajama Lines

    Anyone impressed with the Nazca Lines or the Paracas Candelabra should learn about the Sajama Lines in Bolivia. They, too, are a collection of lines etched into the ground, but they dwarf other geoglyphs in sheer scope.

    Sajama has thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of different lines that range from 1𔃁 meters (3󈝶 ft) in width and can be up to 18 kilometers (11 mi) in length. The lines cover an area of almost 7,500 square meters (70,000 sq ft)—roughly 15 times larger than the famous Nazca Lines. Despite their giant scale, very little research has been done regarding the Sajama Lines. The true size of the network had been very difficult to gauge until recently, when satellite imagery became available.

    The lines are astonishingly straight despite their length, natural obstacles, and the area’s rugged topography. No records detail the lines’ construction, but they are most likely prehistoric, built over countless generations.

    Their purpose remains a mystery. They may have guided pilgrims, they may have marked burial towers, or they may have had some sort of astronomical significance.

    Rongorongo


    The Blythe Geoglyphs

    The Blythe Intaglios are a collection of dozens of geoglyphs found in the Colorado Desert near Blythe, California. They show various representations of animals, geometric shapes, and giant humans, the largest depicting a 50-meter (170 ft) man. The true scope of the geoglyphs was unknown until 1932, when it was viewed from the air.

    Based on their location, they were likely constructed by the Quechan or Mojave Indians. The etchings are supposed to represent important figures from these respective cultures. Two, for instance, are thought to represent Mastamho and Kataar, two creator deities found in Mojave culture.

    But we still know remarkably little about the carvings for certain. They could have been made as long as 10,000 years ago or as recently as 450 years ago.

    The Death Of Alexander The Great

    Even though Alexander the Great is one of the most famous and most well-documented figures of the ancient world, a lot of mystery surrounds his death. Most experts agree on the time and place—June 10, 323 B.C. at the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon. The cause of death, however, remains far from certain.

    For a long time, we thought Alexander was poisoned. Viable suspects abounded—his generals, his wife, his half-brother, and more. All we know for certain is that Alexander fell ill suddenly and spent two weeks in bed with a high fever and abdominal pains before dying.

    Yet his death may have been the result of an illness instead of foul play. This still leaves many potential candidates to explain the symptoms: viral hepatitis, pancreatitis, endocarditis, or maybe something else altogether. Recent theories also suggest that he could have been the victim of an infectious disease like typhoid or malaria.

    Even more mysterious is how his death was foretold by the Chaldeans, who warned him he would die if he entered Babylon. Not only that, but Calanus, an Indian philosopher who accompanied Alexander’s army, told the young conqueror on his own deathbed that the two would meet again in Babylon (this at a time when the army was headed nowhere near the city).

    The Minaret Of Jam

    The Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan is admired by many for its beauty and complex design. The 64-meter (210 ft) tower is still in good condition today, even though it was built sometime in the 12th or 13th century using baked bricks. The intricate decorations and inscriptions are still clearly visible. This alone was enough to get it declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The unknown date of the minaret’s construction makes its purpose a unclear. An inscription notes when it was built, but it cannot be read with certainty. We just know the tower was built by the Ghorid Dynasty at the height of its glory, when it ruled over parts of modern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.

    The most intriguing theory regarding the Minaret of Jam is that it might have belonged to the lost city of Firozkoh. Also known as the Turquoise Mountain, the city was the capital of the Ghorid Dynasty and one of the greatest cities in the world. But it was completely destroyed by Ogedei Khan, son of Genghis, and its location was forever lost.

    Our ancestors left a lot of traces in this world, and not all of them were ever meant to be understood by other cultures. Despite our best efforts, they remain mysteries to this day. One would have to occasionally thing that our ancestors might very well wanted to keep a few mysteries in place. Sometimes the intrigue is more interesting than being in possession of the facts.

    The Emerald Tablet

    The Emerald Tablet remains the most mysterious item on this list because, unlike the others, it does not exist anymore. We do not know its author, origin, or location. We do not even know exactly what it looked like.

    All we know is that the first documented mention of the Emerald Tablet dates to an old Arabic book sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries. The earliest Arabic translations claim that the original text was in ancient Syriac. The first Latin translation of the text appeared in the 12th century, and multiple other translations have been made since then (including one by Sir Isaac Newton).

    The text is considered the most important document in the field of alchemy. It is prized by alchemists because it supposedly presents information regarding the philosopher’s stone, a substance able to turn base metals into gold. But despite allegedly holding such valuable information, nobody has ever successfully used the Emerald Tablet to achieve that alchemical feat.


    Gobekli Tepe is the oldest known ancient site at the age of 12,000 and is undoubtedly the first known Temple in the world. At least 7,000 years before the Sumerian Empire, its presence raises questions as to how the history of civilization and the early days of the modern man can be traced.

    Excavation at the site suggests that the findings present a challenge to both mainstream and alternative historical accounts such as the Ancient Astronaut Theory. The result is an enigma that points to the possibility that the Gobekli Tepe site as the World’s first temple was built either by the Native inhabitants, the Denisovans, or the Anunnaki Ancient Aliens.

    The Gobekli Tepe Temple Complex Site

    Located in Turkey, Gobekli Tepe is made up of a vast Stone Temple Complex. However, unlike Sumerian or Ancient Egyptian Temple Complexes, there is no writing from which the purpose of the Complex can be understood. Instead, we have a Stone alignment and a series of symbolic inscriptions that suggest the existence of an Astronomy based Religion.

    The Gobleki Tepe Site’s alignment to the Cygnus constellation and as a means of marking the Precession of the Equinoxes in Ancient times has been proposed by Andrew Collins and Graham Hancock.

    In addition, the Temple inscriptions bear a close resemblance to the symbols that would be used later in Sumerian, Indus Valley, Egyptian and Mesoamerican Temples. It would, therefore, appear that Gobleki Tepe is possibly the site at which the Astronomical Religions of the Ancient world began.

    Gobleki Tepe is also credited with being the source of the agricultural knowledge that was later transmitted to these later Ancient Civilizations.

    Whilst the Astronomical alignments and Religious symbols at Gobleki Tepe are fairly clear, the identity of the Architects remains a mystery.

    The Unknown Architects Of Gobekli Tepe

    Without a doubt, the Architects of Gobleki Tepe were of superior intelligence and culture. According to Andrew Collins and Graham Hancock, the Architects were possibly the Denisovans, a now extinct Giant Humanoid hybrid species of superior size and intelligence.

    In this view, the builders of Gobleki Tepe may have been the survivors of the great deluge, who established Gobleki Tepe in order to preserve and transmit pre-flood knowledge and culture.

    Sitchin’s Ancient Astronaut Theory would also suggest that Gobekli Tepe was a site that was established by the Anunnaki Ancient Aliens after the flood as a means of preserving the pre-flood knowledge.

    It has also been argued that the site is the work of local Native Tribes who built the site in Ancient times together with the NAZCA lines using stone tools.

    The identity of the Architects of Gobleki Tepe remains an enigma, and it is from its influence on later cultures that perhaps we may obtain some idea as to who is responsible for erecting the Temple Complex.

    The Influence Of Gobekli Tepe

    Gobleki Tepe’s influence is most evident in the later Civilizations of Sumeria, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and Mesoamerica.

    In particular, the symbols and astronomical alignments were first seen at Gobleki Tepe are apparent in these same later Civilizations, forming the foundation of these Civilizations by introducing concepts like Time, Temple Construction, and Religious worship of the Gods.

    It would seem the Gobleki Tepe provided a kind of ancient template upon which later Civilizations were built. The references to the Ancient Gods of Sumer, Egypt, India, and Mesoamerica may in-fact be references to the Denovisan founders of the Gobleki Tepe complex who spread the knowledge of Civilization to these regions.

    As such, the Ancient Gods in these various regions may in-fact be Giant Hybrid Denovisans rather than Ancient Astronauts as suggested by Zechariah Sitchin. Its therefore possible that the Ancient Gods may not have descended from the Heavens, but were regarded as having done so by the peoples they initiated into the arts of Civilization.

    The earliest depictions of the Architects of Gobleki Tepe may possibly be of the Serpent figures of the Ubaid Culture which may be seen as portrayals of Denivosan Giants rather than Alien beings.

    Gobleki Tepe culture may have therefore spread and established itself in the Ubaid Region first, then onto Sumer, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and Mesoamerica.

    Conclusion

    The Giant skeletons that have been unearthed throughout the world and remain unexplained by mainstream Archaeology may belong to the Architects of Gobleki Tepe. A Race of Denovisan Hybrid Giants who initiated all subsequent Cultures into Civilization.

    In this sense, Gobekli Tepe may be regarded as some kind of learning center or school for the initiation of early mankind into Civilization after the great deluge. Excavation of the Gobekli Tepe site still continues, and perhaps more revelations will provide clarity as to its purpose, origins, Architects, and influence on later Civilizations.

    Nevertheless, at this point, what has been discovered so far brings into question both mainstream history and alternative arguments like Sitchin’s Ancient Astronaut Theory especially if the Denovisan hypothesis is considered.


    Lost Civilizations, Pyramids, And Incredible Cyclopean Ruins of South America

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    Thanks to a number of different, surprising archeological discoveries, it has become a popular theory that incredible, advanced ancient civilizations may have inhabited South America thousands of years ago, leaving behind a legacy of mind-bending cyclopean structures and monuments that defy logic.

    From incredible lost cities, uncharted territories, tales, and myths that speak of giants and Gods coming down from the heaven, to explorers who have vanished from sight while searching for long lost civilizations, South America has it all.

    But among all the secrets that hide deep within the heart of South America, we turn towards cyclopean masonry that points towards the existence of a number of ancient civilizations that were far more advanced than what we are willing to accept.

    To understand the incredible secrets, mysteries, and beauties this continent hides, we look towards former US President Theodore Roosevelt and the Roosevelt–Rondon Scientific Expedition which traveled into the heart of Brazil.

    In the Book Through the Brazilian Wilderness, the former US president tells of an incredible account.

    While shooting the rapids of a formidable river in the Matto Grosso, the former president’s attention was drawn to a most unusual sight:

    “By these rapids, at the fall, Cherrie found some strange carvings on a bare mass of rock. They were evidently made by men a long time ago. As far as it is known, the Indians thereabouts make no such figures now…They consisted, upon the upper flat part of the rock, of four multiple circles with a dot in the middle, very accurately made and about a foot and a half in diameter and below them, on the side of the rock, four multiple M’s or inverted W’s. What these curious symbols represented, or who made them, we could not, of course, form the slightest idea. It may be that in a remote past some Indian tribes of advanced culture had penetrated to the lovely river, just as we had now come to it…Colonel Rondon stated that such figures as these are not found anywhere else in the Matto Grosso, and therefore it was all stranger to find them in this one place on the unknown river, never before visited by white men, which we were descending…”

    Island of Marajó—Home to an advanced ancient culture

    Without a single reason of a doubt, the ancient Marajoara culture from Brazil deserves to be mentioned as one of the most amazing civilizations to ever develop in what is now Brazil.

    The Island of Marajo was home to the advanced pre-Columbian civilization of Marajoara, which inhabited major parts of the island from around 400 BC to around 1600 AD. The importance of the culture was reaffirmed by archaeologists who have been busy exploring the home of the Marajoara since the nineteenth century.

    At its peak, it is estimated that this pre-Colombian society had a population of around 100,000 people.

    The Marajoara culture was also one of the civilizations that reached a notoriously high level of social complexity.

    Their complexity was expressed in their technically elaborate ceramic production, characterized by a great diversity of forms and shapes.

    Archaeological excavations have revealed countless artifacts crafted by the Marajoara. Some were found in funerary complexes while others were probably used in diverse rituals.

    The Marajoara iconography was strongly centered on the human figure and the representation of tropical forest animals with symbolic meanings. Their cultures iconography composes an intricate visual communication system that uses symmetries, paired elements, rhythmic repetitions and binary oppositions to reaffirm, transmit and perpetuate a vision of the world.

    Without a doubt, we can conclude that the Marajoara were skilled potters, they dedicated their history to the creation of strange and highly ornamented ceramics that surprisingly, are still being made today by a small number of artisans.

    Interestingly, a number of scholars have compared the pottery produced by the Marajoara to the pottery of the Andean region, suggesting a possible relationship between them.

    Huge underground chambers, connected by tunnels, constitute additional evidence of the dexterity of the ancient Marajoara.

    Marcel Homet—evidence of Advanced Civilizations?

    Marcel Homet was a French—Algerian researcher who published countless books on anthropology, ancient history, and ethnology.

    One of his most famous books titled ‘Sons of the Sun’ details his work in South America and the discoveries he made connecting the new continent to the old world. Among his discoveries, during his fieldwork in South America, Homet uncovered a number of carved inscriptions, petroglyphs and countless native legends and traditions which pointed to the possible existence of an extremely well-organized, advanced civilization or civilizations that may have existed in the distant past, hidden deep in the Amazonian rainforest.

    Homet’s work eventually took him to the MacuxiI tribe, who speak of the existence of a glorious ancient city, adorned with gold, massive walls, and rooftops, that belonged to a Sun worshiping ancient civilization. The MacuxiI tribe also introduced Homet to another city, hidden deep in the unexplored Pakaraima mountains. There, according to MacuxiI elders, lay the remnants of a massive boulder covered with strange petroglyphs that point the way towards another ruined city.

    The MacuxiI further explained that if anyone were to travel down that path, continuing for another two days walk, you’d reach a massive wall in the mountains marked by an arch that lead towards an incredible city located beneath the surface.

    Pedra do Inga—An ancient cosmic map?

    More evidence of advanced ancient civilizations in Brazil was uncovered in the 1600’s when explorer Feliciano Coelho was traveling near modern-day Joao Pessoa, where he uncovered a massive stone, carved in bas-relief: The Inga Stone.

    Written on its surface were countless strange symbols and characters that were unlike any other writing system on the continent.

    The most famous symbols on the Inga Stone are those representing the constellation of Orion, and the Milky Way Galaxy. Experts refer to the Inga Stone as “an exceptional archeoastronomy monument, like no other in the world.”

    The Inga Stone features hundreds of strange symbols and “Stars” that stretch over a rock measuring 245 meters in length, 3 meters in height. Several figures are carved in low relief in this set and there are entries whose meanings are unknown. The age of the inscriptions is unknown, but geologists estimate that the rock formation dates back at least 6,000 years.

    Deforestation of the Amazon, and how it revealed traces of a long-lost culture

    Recent studies have revealed more evidence that a large ancient civilization called the Amazon their home thousands of years ago.

    According to an archaeological survey, southern parts of the Amazon rainforest are covered by a massive network of ancient settlements and ceremonial centers which existed long before the arrival of Columbus.

    Researchers have shown how complex societies—of around one million inhabitants—existed in the Amazon as early as 1250AD.

    “Our research shows we need to re-evaluate the history of the Amazon,” said researchers who were left awestruck by the find.

    The distribution of the potential sites suggests an interconnected, advanced series of fortified villages spanning over 1,100 miles that flourished between 1200 and 1500 A.D.

    Manuscript 512—Evidence of a long-lost civilization in the Amazon?

    An ancient document titled Manuscript 512 perhaps offers further evidence of the existence of long-lost civilizations in the Amazon. The document, now housed at the Brazilian National Library in Rio de Janeiro mentions a group of explorers which allegedly stumbled upon a ruined ancient city in eastern Brazil, around 1753.

    This ‘magnificent stone city’ was unlike any other city they’ve ever seen, with architecture early reminiscent of that of Ancient Greece and mysterious writings not native to the region.

    The enigmatic text of the manuscript is completed with curious details, such as documenting the discovery of a bag of gold coins bearing the silhouette of an archer and a crown, or the reproduction of hieroglyphs copied from various corners of the city, which some say bare an uncanny similarity with Greek and Phoenician letters.

    Landsat 2 and the Pyramids of South America

    One of the most bizarre discoveries perhaps occurred after the Landsat Satellite photographed what seem to be pyramidal structures in the Amazon in 1975.

    The idea that the Amazon was inhabited only by primitive cultures is an understatement to our civilization.

    “Before white man arrived in South America, there already existed therein various semi-civilizations, some rude, others fairly advanced, which rose, flourished, and persisted through immemorial ages, and then vanished. The vicissitudes in the history of humanity during its stay on this southern continent have been as strange, varied, and inexplicable as paleontology shows to have been the case, on the same continent, in the history of the higher forms of animal life during the age of mammals…”

    Do the images snapped by the Landsat satellite indicate traces of yet another lost city in the Amazon? The area where the alleged pyramidal structures were spotted is in an area on the Peruvian-Brazilian border, more precisely to the southeast of Peru, 13° S latitude, 71° 30″ W longitude.

    Itá Letra, an undecipherable writing in South America

    If we move further south, away from Brazil and towards Uruguay we will come across another megalithic mystery: Itá Letra.

    Located deep within the depths of the Ybytyruzú mountain range, in Paraguay, stands the imposing enigma of Itá Letra (‘Piedra con Letra’), a place that is home to a set of indescribable petroglyphs, which for a long time were presumed to have been Viking in nature. The enigmatic set of petroglyphs date back to around 5,000 BC and feature numerous symbols. However, the most prominent of them all are the engravings which are believed to depict ‘Star Maps’ or Constellations.

    The enigmatic set of inscriptions were studied by a team of archaeologists from the Museo de Altamira (Spain) in 2010.

    The researchers concluded that the figures were elaborated by natives of the area, between the years 5,000 and 2,500 BC, thus discarding Scandinavian Vikings as possible authors.

    The oldest of the Itá Letra symbols are believed to date back to around 5,000 BC. and are located in the most hidden caves. The symbols represent constellations, footprints of felines or birds, female sexual organs, among other objects that the inhabitants of that time perceived and reproduced in their caves.

    A Pyramid-building Civilizations that predates the ancient Egyptians

    Despite the fact that everyone immediately identified Egypt with Pyramids, the truth is that there exists an ancient civilization in South America so advanced, that it built monuments and pyramids before the Egyptians.

    Caral is believed to be one of the first sophisticated ancient civilizations that developed in South America. They developed advanced methods in agronomy, medicine, engineering and architecture over 5000 years ago.

    “As for pharmacology, we found that Caral inhabitants used willow —containing the *active chemical ingredient of aspirin*— to relieve pain such as headaches.”

    Website andina.com.pe writes:

    “Another highlight was the civil engineering, which continues to amaze since scientists applied the seismic resistance technology to the over-5000-year-old constructions.”

    Chan-Chan: The largest Pre-Colombian city of South America

    The Andean Chimu state was an ancient civilization that established in modern-day Peru around 850 AD. This ancient city covers staggering twenty square kilometers with a dense urban center of six square kilometers. It was the imperial capital called home for over fifty thousand people. Archeologists have discovered pyramidal temples, cemeteries, gardens, reservoirs, and symmetrically arranged rooms in the center of the city that consisted of several walled citadels.

    The Chimu empire was well known for their extremely well-planned cities, having large, flat-topped buildings for the nobility and incredibly well-decorated adobe pyramids that served as temples.

    Puma Punku, Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman—A megalithic mystery

    I could probably continue writing about these three above-mentioned sites for hours.

    But I’ve already done so in the past.

    All three sites are beyond a reason of a doubt, the best evidence that in the distant past, extremely advanced civilizations existed in South America.

    All three ancient sites, Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman and Puma Punku offer evidence of supermassive stones and intricately shaped blocks which have been placed into position so that not a single sheet of paper fits in-between the blocks.

    Even more interesting is the fact that many of the stones found at Ollantaytambo and Sacsayhuaman seem almost as if they were melted and then shaped into a specific form.

    Sacsayhuaman, for example, features incredible zic-zac lines on the quarries where the ancients extracted their stones from. No one has been able to explain what type of tool could have created these evenly spaced lines at Sacsayhuaman.

    Puma Punku, on the other hand, offers us the so-called ‘H blocks’ which are a giant mystery on their own.

    No one knows for sure how they were shaped nor what they were used for.

    A perhaps even greater mystery is transportation.

    Just how did the builders of Puma Punku, Ollantaytambo, and Sacsayhuaman transport massive blocks of stone, without the use of technologies such as the wheel?

    Human activity in the Americas around 130,000 years ago?

    All of this doesn’t come as a surprise perhaps if we read through the latest archaeological discoveries that have been made in the American Continent.

    Published in the Journal Nature is a discovery that has sent shockwaves in the archaeological community.

    The arrival of the first humans in America has for provoked for years an intricate scientific debate among experts.

    After finding evidence of the use of stone tools and fossil remains of a mastodon at an archaeological site in California, experts claim that some of our human relatives had already migrated to the New World approximately 130,000 years ago.

    “I realize that 130,000 years is a really old date and makes our site the oldest archaeological site in the Americas,” says study leader Tom Deméré, the paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, whose team describes their analysis today in Nature. “Of course, extraordinary claims like this require extraordinary evidence, and we feel like the Cerutti mastodon site presents this evidence.”

    And while the above-mentioned find was made in North America, it drives us to ask questions which we’ve avoided for decades.

    If there were people in North America some 130,000 years ago, isn’t it possible that similar hominids existed to the south? In Central and South America?

    Let me know what you think and post your comments below.

    Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article, as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    *Clyclopean: denoting a type of ancient masonry made with massive irregular blocks.

    Featured Image Credit: Jungle Ruins by Julian-Faylona. Image posted with permission.


    1 The Emerald Tablet

    The Emerald Tablet remains the most mysterious item on this list because, unlike the others, it does not exist anymore. We do not know its author, origin, or location. We do not even know exactly what it looked like.

    All we know is that the first documented mention of the Emerald Tablet dates to an old Arabic book sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries. The earliest Arabic translations claim that the original text was in ancient Syriac. The first Latin translation of the text appeared in the 12th century, and multiple other translations have been made since then (including one by Sir Isaac Newton).

    The text is considered the most important document in the field of alchemy. It is prized by alchemists because it supposedly presents information regarding the philosopher’s stone, a substance able to turn base metals into gold. But despite allegedly holding such valuable information, nobody has ever successfully used the Emerald Tablet to achieve that alchemical feat.


    2. Experimental Methods

    2.1. Ice Core Drilling and Site Characteristics

    [7] In June 1999 two nearby ice cores were recovered within about 10 m from each other from a glacier at about 6300 m above sea level (asl) on the Illimani, Bolivia (16°39′S, 67°47′W, Figure 1) by a joint expedition of scientists from the French Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland. Both ice cores were drilled on the saddle between Pico Central and Pico Sur (Figure 1C) and reached bedrock at depths of 136.7 m (core A) and 138.7 m (core B), respectively. For drilling, a Fast Electromechanical Lightweight Ice Coring System (FELICS) [ Ginot et al., 2002b ] was used, producing ice core sections with up to 0.9 m in length and 7.8 cm in diameter. The ice core sections were packed and sealed in polyethylene bags in the field, transported frozen to Europe, and kept frozen in a cold room (−25°C) until analysis.

    [8] The mean temperature from May 1998 to March 1999 at the drilling site on the Illimani was −7°C (M. Vuille, University of Massachusetts, personal communication, 2002). Ice temperatures are −7°C at 10 m depth in the firn part of the glacier [ Ginot et al., 2002a ] and −8.4°C near bedrock [ Zweifel, 2000 ]. The firn–ice transition is at a depth of 37 m (density > 0.82 g cm −3 is considered to be ice), and the mean annual accumulation amounts to 0.58 m water equivalent (m weq) yr −1 (see below). A few faint dust layers were found in the cores, but no visible ash layers were observed. Air and ice temperatures indicate that dry firn prevails, which is corroborated by the fact that melt-feature percentages [ Kameda et al., 1995 ] are low, i.e., in the firn the average value is 6.8% (calculated for each ice core section separately), ranging from 1% to 22%. Thus, glaciochemical records are assumed to be preserved. Although high sublimation rates of 1.2 mm weq d −1 were observed at this site during the short dry season, the overall influence of sublimation on the ice core record seems to be limited [ Ginot et al., 2002a ].

    2.2. Sample Preparation and Analyses

    [9] ECM measurements were performed at the Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE) in Grenoble. The lengths of the ice cores and the positions of the breaks were recorded manually. A layer of about 1 cm was removed longitudinally from the ice core with a band saw and the new surface was polished with a scalpel to remove possible unevenness and snow shavings. Two electrodes, separated by 22 mm, were slid along the freshly cut surface with an applied potential difference of 1500 V. A depth resolution of about 1 mm was achieved, given by the sliding speed along the ice core and the sampling time for each data point. The two cores were analyzed at different temperatures (core A: −15°C, core B: −20°C) and at different times after the recovery. In core B, the current measured in the firn part was higher than in the ice part. The opposite was observed in core A. We suggest that this phenomenon is due to a different contact between the ice and the electrodes (contact pressure) [ Legrand et al., 1987 ] and a different temperature while measuring.

    [10] At the LGGE, the topmost 50 m of core A was subsampled, mostly continuously, by cutting half of the core in 6–10 cm sections in a cold room. The outer layer of each section was removed using a specially designed stainless steel plane in a laminar flow bench. Melting and partitioning for ion chromatography and microparticle analyses was carried out in a class 100 clean room. The samples were kept frozen in precleaned containers until analysis.

    [11] Microparticle size distributions in 256 size intervals from 0.67 to 20.89 μm diameter were measured by a Coulter Multisizer IIe with a 50 μm orifice. For counting a prefiltered NaCl solution was added to 0.5 mL of sample to obtain an electrolyte solution of 1% NaCl. All samples were shaken gently three times before measurement to reduce the sedimentation of large particles. Blank values were typically 300–600 particles per mL, i.e., about 1 order of magnitude lower than the cleanest samples analyzed.

    [12] The pH in the upper part of ice core B was determined using an 8103 Orion Electrode with a Metrohm pH meter 605 (sample volume 1 mL, addition of 10 μL 1 M KCl) and was converted to H + concentrations. The error in the H + concentration was estimated to 3 μmol L −1 due to uncertainties in measuring electrode potentials and low ionic strength of the melted sample. For this purpose, ice core segments were decontaminated in a cold room at the PSI by using a modified band saw (stainless steel blades, with Teflon covered table tops and saw guides) and prepared according to Eichler et al. [2000] .

    [13] For the analysis of tritium originating from nuclear weapons testing, the outer parts (as contamination is not a problem) of ice core B were scraped off in the cold room with a scalpel and used for analysis. The depth resolution was about 0.7 m. Samples of 50–70 mL volume were melted and subsequently analyzed by direct liquid scintillation counting in a low level laboratory at the University of Bern [ Schotterer et al., 1998 ].

    [14] 210 Pb was measured by α-detection of its granddaughter 210 Po. Samples of 100 or 200 mL with a depth resolution of about 0.7 m were melted, chemically prepared and 210 Po was electrolytically deposited on silver plates as described by Gäggeler et al. [1983] .

    2.3. Data Analysis

    [15] The ECM signal had to be processed for breaks, since they induce a low current in this record. These artifacts were removed manually by deleting data around 1 cm to the right and left of the position of the break in the data set. The total length of the breaks was around 10% of the entire ice core. To remove high-frequency signals (noise), a Gaussian filter over 100 data points with a manually chosen depth-dependent width was applied to the ECM signal. For using this filter, data gaps originating from artifacts were ignored, which means that data were treated as if they were adjacent.


    The 60 Most Interesting World Facts You'll Ever Hear

    These tidbits about everything from nature to global politics will make you feel instantly smarter.

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    With around 200 countries and more than 7.8 billion people (plus plants, animals, and other organisms), the world is full of interesting, fun, and fascinating facts. In the land of the Kiwis, for instance, you'll find the highest concentration of pet owners on the planet. And over in Nicaragua, you'll find one of the only two flags in the world to feature the color purple. Hungry for more facts about the world and its ever-growing population? Read on to learn some interesting trivia about the Earth's past, present, and future.

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    Just over 96% of the total amount of the world's water is held in its oceans, according to Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World's Fresh Water Resources via the United States Geological Survey (USGS). However, that's primarily saltwater. To find the bulk of the world's freshwater you need to trek to the poles, as 68.7% of it is encased in ice caps, permanent snow, and glaciers. For more facts sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

    r.classen/Shutterstock

    Hang on to your hats because this isn't your average wind storm. In 1996, a tropical cyclone named Olivia hit off the coast of Barrow Island, Australia with such a force that it broke an incredible record. According to The Weather Channel, "Olivia's eyewall produced five extreme three-second wind gusts, the peak of which was a 253 mph gust," which blew past the previous wind record of 231 mph set in Mount Washington, New Hampshire back in 1934.

    Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

    Europe has been experiencing serious dry spells and extreme heat since 2015, which has caused major droughts. Research done led by the University of Cambridge (and published on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website) looked at isotopes in the rings of old European Oak trees in Central Europe which formed over thousands of years to try to pin down the cause. They discovered that the dry spells are a "result of human-caused climate change and associated shifts in the jet stream," according to EurekAlert!

    Felix Nendzig/Shutterstock

    If you're an avid rainbow gazer and want to get your fill of the beautiful phenomenon, look no further than the state of Hawaii. A study published by the American Meteorological Society in 2021 noted that the area's "mountains produce sharp gradients in clouds and rainfall, which are key to abundant rainbow sightings." Air pollution, pollen, and a large amount of cresting waves also help to put Hawaii at the top of the list when it comes to rainbow quantity and quality.

    Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock

    Around 80 percent of Greenland is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, which Britannica explains is the "largest and possibly the only relic of the Pleistocene glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere." But has it always been so icy? Well, at the bottom of a 1.4 km core sample, which was taken in 1966 at Camp Century during the Cold War, researchers found "well-preserved fossil plants and biomolecules," which means that the massive sheet melted and reformed at least once in the last million years. Brrrrr!

    Juan Garcia/Shutterstock

    Fin whales are basically the Barry White of the ocean. The deep, bellowing songs that males use to attract mates are considered to be the loudest of all marine life and can be "heard up to 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away," according to Scientific American. They can also be used to sonically map out the ocean floor thanks to the fact that the sound can reach depths of 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) under the water, which bounces back and provides researchers with accurate measurements. Beyond that, a 2021 study in Science showed how using a fin whale's song can be far more useful and have less of a negative impact on sea life than using a large air gun, which is the typical tool researchers rely on.

    CChamorro/Shutterstock

    Finding previously undiscovered organisms in the depths of the ocean may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi horror film, but a 2020 study of a deep-sea volcano near New Zealand, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, uncovered "over 90 putative bacterial and archaeal genomic families and nearly 300 previously unknown genera." Some research has linked hydrothermal vents, like deep-sea volcanoes, to the "origin of life." So are we looking at the early signs of future land-dwellers? We'll have to wait and see.

    Vixit/Shutterstock

    Mount Everest may not have physically grown, having reached maturity a long time ago, however, the most recent measurement performed by surveyors representing China and Nepal has the mountain peak standing taller than we'd thought in the past. Previous readings have ranged from 29,002 feet above sea level in 1856 down to 20,029 in 1955, according to NPR. But after the long process of measuring the mountain with GPS devices, experts have now stated that Mount Everest stands at a whopping 29,031.69 feet, due to plate tectonics.

    Stock for you/Shutterstock

    Don't worry, your prized red roses aren't going to turn turquoise overnight, but an increase in UV radiation due to the ozone layer deteriorating over the past decades has caused flowers all over the globe to change. A 2020 study led by Clemson University scientists determined that the UV pigmentation in flowers has increased over time which has led to the degradation of their pollen. Although we can't see the color change with our eyes, it is a big problem for pollinators like bees who are attracted to the bright colors that flowers produce.

    al7/Shutterstock

    Dentistry goes all way back to when humans first had teeth…well not quite that long. However, one study found evidence of teeth being drilled in skulls that dates from 7,500 to 9,000 years ago. The holes were likely made using a prehistoric bow-drill. Could that be the work of the first dentist? Other biting research conducted by the University of Bologna, Italy on a 14,000-year-old skull found that "one rotten tooth in the jaw had been deliberately scoured and scraped with a tool," according to the BBC. That makes dentistry one of the oldest recorded professions and is definitely a reason to smile.

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    No matter where you go, it's comforting to know you can always enjoy a Coca-Cola. Well, almost anywhere. While this fizzy drink is sold practically everywhere, it still hasn't (officially) made its way to North Korea or Cuba, according to the BBC. That's because these countries are under long-term U.S. trade embargoes.

    However, some folks say you might be able to snag a sip of the stuff if you try hard enough—although it'll typically be a lot more expensive than what you would pay in the states—and probably imported from a neighboring country such as Mexico or China.

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    The world's total population is more than 7.5 billion. And obviously, that number sounds huge. However, it might feel a little more manageable once you learn that if every single one of those people stood shoulder-to-shoulder, they could all fit within the 500 square miles of Los Angeles, according to National Geographic.

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    You might think twins are a rarity, but they're actually becoming more common than ever. "From about 1915, when the statistical record begins, until 1980, about one in every 50 babies born was a twin, a rate of 2 percent," writes Alexis C. Madrigal of The Atlantic. "Then, the rate began to increase: by 1995, it was 2.5 percent. The rate surpassed 3 percent in 2001 and hit 3.3 percent in 2010. [That means] one out of every 30 babies born is a twin."

    Scientists believe this trend is due to the fact that older women tend to have more twins, and women are choosing to start families later. Fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization likely also play a role.

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    The "weapons-grade" Dragon's Breath chili pepper is so hot it's downright deadly. If you ate one, it could potentially cause a type of anaphylactic shock, burning your airways and closing them up.

    "I've tried it on the tip of my tongue and it just burned and burned," said Mike Smith, the hobby grower who invented the Dragon's Breath along with scientists from Nottingham University. So why make such an impractical pepper? As it turns out, the chili was initially developed to be used in medical treatment as an anesthetic that can numb the skin.

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    France is a beautiful country, filled to the brim with delicious wines, scrumptious cheese, and tons of romance. So it's no surprise that more people want to visit France than any other country in the world, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

    In 2017, the European country welcomed 86.9 million people. Spain was the second-most popular destination with 81.8 million visitors, followed by the United States (76.9 million), China (60.7 million), and Italy (58.3 million). La vie est belle!

    Unsplash/ Sid Verma

    Santa Cruz del Islote in the Archipelago of San Bernardo off the coast of Colombia may only be about the size of two soccer fields (two acres), but the artificial island has four main streets and 10 neighborhoods. Five hundred people live on the island in around 155 houses. With so many people packed into such a small space, it's the most densely populated island in the world, according to The Guardian.

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    It might seem safe to assume that the Canary Islands were named after canary birds, but the location was actually named for a different animal. Although it's off the coast of northwestern Africa, the archipelago is actually part of Spain. In Spanish, the area's name is Islas Canarias, which comes from the Latin phrase Canariae Insulae for "island of dogs."

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    Though there are short people and tall people everywhere, Indonesia is home to some of the shortest people in the world, according to data compiled from various global sources by the Telegraph in 2017.

    When taking both genders into account, the average adult is around 5 feet, 1.8 inches. People in Bolivia don't tend to be much taller, with an average adult height of 5 feet, 2.4 inches. The tallest people among us live in the Netherlands, where the average adult height is 6 feet.

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    When 174 world leaders signed the Paris Agreement on Earth Day in 2016 at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, it was the largest number of countries ever to come together to sign anything on a single day. The agreement aims to combat climate change and accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed to strengthen the global climate effort.

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    Silence is golden, as they say. And while it may not be worth quite as much as jewels and gold to most people, it certainly was the primary goal for those who built the quietest room in the world. Located at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, the lab room measures a background noise of -20.35 dBA, which is 20 decibels below the threshold of human hearing and breaks previous records for spaces that were deemed the planet's quietest places, according to CNN.

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    For simplicity's sake, most of the more than 200 countries in the world use the metric system when describing things like length or mass. However, there were recently three countries that stood out: Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States.

    In 2018, Liberia commerce and industry minister Wilson Tarpeh said the government planned to adopt the metric system in order to promote accountability and transparency in trade, according to the Liberian Observer. Myanmar made a similar commitment, which leaves the U.S. as the lone holdout.

    Alamy

    People who live in Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill, Australia, need a little patience when it comes to learning to spell their hometown's name. But you know what? So do the folks from Lake Chargoggagoggman-chauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Massachusetts and Tweebuffelsmeteen-skootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South Africa.

    None of them have quite as much work to do when jotting down their address as those who live in Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateaturipukakapikimaung-ahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand, though. At 85 letters long, this is the longest place name in the world.

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    Every second, we welcome four new babies into our overall population. Do a little math and you'll find out that means there are approximately 250 births each minute, 15,000 each hour, and 360,000 each day.

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    You might think you're accustomed to frigid air and blustery winds, but the average winter day has nothing on the coldest day ever recorded, which was -144 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature was recorded in Antarctica during a span of research between 2004 and 2016. Just a few breaths of air at that temperature would induce hemorrhaging in your lungs and kill you.

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    Because of pollution, the Earth's ozone layer has suffered a lot. That's bad news for everyone, since the fragile gas layer protects our planet and shields us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Fortunately, climate change experts believe that the ozone layer will fully heal within 50 years, according to a 2018 report from the United Nations.

    The recovery is thanks in large part to the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which put a global ban on the use of one of the main culprits for the damage: chlorofluorocarbons (CFOs). Previously, CFOs had been common in refrigerators, aerosol cans, and dry-cleaning chemicals.

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    Earthquakes can range from minor tremors that are barely noticeable to building-toppling ground-shakers that cause massive destruction. But it's an inevitable part of life for those who live in countries such as China, Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey, which are some of the most earthquake-prone places on the planet. However, according to the USGS, Japan records the most earthquakes in the world.

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    Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, some of those itty-bitty biological cells are actually good for us and aide the world in various and complex ways. And that's nice to know, considering there are around 4 quadrillion quadrillion individual bacteria on our planet, according to NPR.

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    Here's another world fact to keep in the back of your mind: According to the Population Reference Bureau, since the time Homo sapiens first hit the scene 50,000 years ago, more than 108 billion members of our species have been born. And a large chunk of that number is alive right now. According to the bureau, the number of people alive today represents a whopping 7% of the total number of humans who have ever lived.

    szefei/Shutterstock

    Step aside John, James, Mary, and Jane—the most popular name in the world is believed to be Muhammad. According to The Independent, an estimated 150 million men and boys around the world share this name. The popularity is thanks to a Muslim tradition of naming every first-born son after the Islamic prophet.

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    The flag of Nicaragua features a rainbow in the center that includes a band of purple, while the flag of Dominica boasts a picture of a sisserou parrot, a bird with purple feathers. These elements make them the only two flags in the world that use the color purple.

    Unsplash/ João Silas

    Not everyone lives in a booming city or sprawling suburb. Many people still make their homes outside of bustling locations—especially in India, which has the largest number of people living in rural areas (approximately 893 million people live outside of the city), according to Reuters. China also has an impressively large rural population, with 578 million living outside of major centers.

    AV_photo/Shutterstock

    The 1933 Double Eagle was a $20 U.S. coin made of gold that never went into circulation. A few of the coins were made, but most were destroyed —save for nine that were presumed stolen by U.S. mint workers. After years circulating the globe and falling into the hands of a few notable owners—including the king of Egypt—one of the coins was auctioned off at Sotheby's in 2002 for a stunning $7,590,020. That made it the most expensive coin ever sold at auction.

    Bartosz Luczak/Shutterstock

    Due to overfishing and disease, the oyster population in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay was seriously suffering. But thanks to dedicated work by scientists at the Horn Point Laboratory, the Army Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Nature Conservancy, the state is now home to the world's largest man-made oyster reef. Home to more than one billion oysters, the area is a no-fishing zone, which will hopefully give the population a chance to recover.

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    Every four years, the Olympic games bring together the most competitive athletes from around the world. And when the PyeongChang Winter Games were held in 2018, 2,952 athletes were expected to show up from a total of 92 countries. That beat the previous record of 2,800 athletes from 88 countries who participated in the Winter Games in 2014.

    Frontpage/Shutterstock

    Some countries are hundreds of years old, while others can trace their nation's history back for thousands of years. But South Sudan in North Africa just gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, which currently makes it the youngest country in the world.

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    According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as of 2012, 50.5 percent of the world's population were people under the age of 30. Around 89.7% of those young people live in emerging and developing economies like the Middle East and Africa.

    Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

    Although the majority of the human population is currently under 30 years old, there are still plenty of older folks among us. In fact, over 12% of people on Earth are 60 years old and older. That number is expected to reach 22% by 2050.

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    If the Earth's time zones were each one hour apart, then we would have 24 times zones, which sounds pretty straightforward. However, the situation is a little more complicated than that. Since many time zones only differ by 30 or 45 minutes, they don't fit into a neat and tidy 24-hour span, which means that there are more than 24, though it's hard to say exactly how many.

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    Soccer—or football, depending on who you ask—is the most popular sport around the world. That's why when the FIFA World Cup games took place in both 2010 and 2014, nearly half of the world's population (around 3.2 billion people) tuned in to see who would win.

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    With 221,800 islands, Sweden is thought to have more islands than any other country in the world. Only about 1,000 of them are inhabited.

    Paul Marriott/Alamy Live News

    The British royal family may be the most famous royal family on the planet, but there are still plenty of other nobles out there. In total, there are 28 royal families who rule over a total of 43 countries around the world, including Japan, Spain, Swaziland, Bhutan, Thailand, Monaco, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Liechtenstein.

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    Castroville is a rural town in California that grows a lot of artichokes (and other vegetable crops), thanks to the fact that the area enjoys ideal weather year round. Because of this, it grows 99.9% of all commercially grown artichokes and has even been nicknamed the "Artichoke Capital of the World."

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    The panda at your local zoo may look like it's at home in its cozy sanctuary. But unless you live in China, the pandas that you're seeing are just visiting. That's because every one of the gentle giants in zoos around the world are on loan from China. Yes, they're technically the property of the government of China, according to Vox.

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    According to a study developed for National Geographic in 2011, the world's "most typical" person is right-handed, makes less than $12,000 per year, has a mobile phone, and doesn't have a bank account.

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    Our neighbors to the north boast 396.9-million hectares of forests, or 9% of all of the forest area in the entire world, according to Natural Resources Canada.

    Linn Currie/Shutterstock

    There may not be any red-billed queleas in your neighborhood, but that's not because there aren't an abundance of them. These birds, which live in sub-Saharan Africa, are considered agricultural pests because their massive flocks can obliterate entire crops. Although their numbers fluctuate, there are around 1 to 10 billion queleas, which leads scientists to believe that there are more of them than any other bird on Earth, according to Audobon.

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    As of 2021, the overall human population is estimated to be more than 7.8 billion people. And if you want to watch that increase in real time, you can tune into the World Population Clock, which shows the upticks and downticks as babies are born and people die. You can also see the current populations of different countries.

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    With around 950 million native speakers and an additional 200 million people speaking Mandarin Chinese as a second language, it's the most widely spoken language in the world.

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    During his lifetime between 1162 and 1227, Genghis Khan fathered countless children. And while we may never know exactly how many offspring the leader of the Mongol Empire had, scientists now believe that around 1 in every 200 men—AKA 16 million people—are direct descendants of his.

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    Many cities around the world are trying to figure out how to accommodate cyclists and encourage more residents to use the environmentally friendly mode of transportation. That's why Copenhagen has become such a role model according to Wired, it's the most bike-friendly city in the world.

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    There are estimated to be 72 million deaf people around the world. There are also about 300 different sign languages—including American Sign Language and International Sign Language—as well as 41 countries that recognize them as an official language.

    Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

    With each generation that passes, more and more people are learning how to read, according to UNESCO. These days, around 86% of adults around the world are able to enjoy a book on their own. UNESCO also explained that their data shows "remarkable improvement among youth in terms of reading and writing skills and a steady reduction in gender gaps."

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    Do you use Facebook? If you don't, you're among a number that gets increasingly smaller every day. In fact, 2 billion active users have an account on the social media platform, which is more than the population of the United States, China, and Brazil combined. Facebook's co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted about the milestone, saying, "We're making progress connecting the world, and now let's bring the world closer together."

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    You might find yourself saying "the" before various countries and place names when referring to them, thanks to grammar and common pronunciation, which is why we say the United States or the Maldives. However, only The Gambia and The Bahamas formally include "the" in their names.

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    The total population of people who are alive on Earth hasn't even hit 8 billion. At the same time, there are 10 quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000) individual ants crawling around at any given time. According to wildlife presenter Chris Packham, who appeared on the BBC in 2014 to discuss this, when combined, all of those ants would weigh about the same as all of us humans.

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    The next time you feel like taking a dip in the big blue ocean, you might not want to think about the fact that the seemingly pristine water is home to almost 200,000 different kinds of viruses. While this may sound scary, Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at the Ohio State University, told CNN, "Having that road map [of what viruses exist] helps us do a lot of the things we'd be interested in to better understand the ocean and, I hate to say it, but maybe to have to engineer the ocean at some point to combat climate change."

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    People who live in New Zealand seem to love having at least one animal companion around. That's why 68% of households in the country have a pet, which is more than any other nation in the world. Americans also happen to love furry friends, which is why more than half of all U.S. homes have either a dog or cat (or both).

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    Tokyo is a booming city—not only by Japanese standards, but also compared to cities around the world. With around 37 million people living in Tokyo, it's the world's largest city when it comes to population size, according to Reuters. The next largest city is Delhi, India, (population 29 million) and Shanghai, China (population 26 million).

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    These days, Interpol (or the International Criminal Police Organization) may be well-known for tracking down outlaws around the world. But the group dates all the way back to 1914 when the International Criminal Police Congress was held in Monaco. That meeting saw police and judicial representatives from 24 countries get together with the goal of improving contacts between police forces in different countries in order to increase the effectiveness of international investigations.

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    While four babies are born on Earth every second, it's estimated that around two people pass away at the same time. That means that 105 people die each minute, 6,316 people die each hour, 151,600 people die each day, and 55.3 million people die each year. Sorry, folks—not all interesting facts are fun!


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