1. rhamphotheca:

    New Research Finds That Humans Are Responsible for Extinction of Giant Birds on New Zealand

    by Jeremy Hance

    Moas were a diverse group of flightless birds that ruled over New Zealand up to the arrival of humans, the biggest of these mega-birds stood around 3.5 meters (12 feet) with outstretched neck. While the whole moa family—comprised of nine species—vanished shortly after the arrival of people on New Zealand in the 13th Century, scientists have long debated why the big birds went extinct. Some theories contend that the birds were already in decline due to environmental changes or volcanic activity before humans first stepped on New Zealand’s beaches. But a study released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds no evidence of said decline, instead pointing the finger squarely at us.

    To find the moa’s smoking gun, scientists analyzed two different sets of DNA from 281 specimens made up of four species: the South Island giant moa (Dinornis robustus), the biggest of the family; the heavy-footed moa (Pachyornis elephantopus); the eastern moa (Emeus crassus); and the coastal moa (Euryapteryx curtus). Instead of showing a slow, genetic decline, the DNA told a different story: moas were thriving even as humans arrived…

    (read more: MongaBay)

    illustration by MIchael B.H./Wikimedia Commons

    (via scientificillustration)


  2. medievalpoc:

    The Codex Mendoza

    fol. 070r: Advice on Respectable Careers for Young Men, Contrasted With Examples of Wasted Lives

    Aztec Manuscript Created under Colonial (Spanish) Supervision (1541)

    What you are looking at is a section of the Codex Mendoza that is meant to depict the “daily lives” of the Mexica/Aztec people. The majority of Aztec books were purposely destroyed by the Spanish, and “approved” re-creations or copies were created by indigenous artists and writers, under Spanish supervision and pending their approval of the contents.

    Even those these copies are obviously adulterated, many academics seem content to extrapolate on manuscripts like these as a completely accurate portrayal of pre-colonial peoples in the Americas. The ideas pervasive in pop culture about the indigenous people of Central America is shaped by these works, meant to glorify the colonial objectives of conversion to Christianity, ‘civilizing’ native peoples, and presenting themselves and their actions in a positive or justified light.

    The images above read very much like a “Goofus and Gallant" style etiquette manual from the 1950s, and you could wonder whether such a binary system of valuation and morality was inherent to Mexica/Aztec culture, or if it was imposed on traditional beliefs by the colonizers.

    Description of the images and actions above:

    (1) (upper) At the centre, a ‘Father who counsels his son to be virtuous and not roam about as a vagabond’. On either side, the honorable careers of messenger (left) and singer-musician (right).

    (2) (upper middle) On the left, in the ‘house where they assemble for public works’, sits the majordomo, who asks the two seated youths to perform services with digging-sticks and baskets: they weep at the prospect.

    Bad examples for the youths are depicted on the right: (clockwise) a vagabond with twisted feet and hands, a ball player who bounces a rubber ball from his hip, a ‘player of patolli, which is like dice’ (gambling perhaps with his clothes), and a thief.

    (3) (lower half). On the left, five scenes of artisans teaching their trades to their sons: a carpenter shaping wood with an axe; a lapidary polishing a green stone with a cane tool; a codex-painter (tlacuilo) illustrating a document in red and black; a metalworker blowing to raise the temperature in his brazier for melting gold; and a featherworker preparing coloured feathers for application, his son helping with needle and thread.

    On the right, by contrast, are two further bad examples: the large standing figure, with a glyph of two snakes’ heads above his head, is marked in Spanish ‘person with a vicious tongue, and a gossiper’. Below, ‘the vice of drunkenness leads to thieving’: a man and woman sit on either side of a looted coffer drinking pulque, its potency to be enhanced by the rope-like quapatli root on the right.

    Further context and history of the manuscript:

    A picture-book of European paper and format, with images painted by a native artist and annotated in Spanish, probably for Don Antonio de Mendoza, first Viceroy of New Spain (1535-50), and most likely in the early 1540s. Acquired no later than 1553 by the French cosmographer André Thevet (d. 1592).

    The manuscript is arranged in three parts: I A pictorial history of the Aztec emperors and their conquests from 1325 to 1521 (fols. 1r-16v). Between Parts I and II is an intermediate section (fols. 17v-18r), not belonging clearly to either. II An illustrated catalogue of the annual tribute paid by the towns of the empire to the last emperor, Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, also known as Montezuma II (fols. 18v-55r). III An illustrated account of Aztec life-cycles, male and female, from birth to death (fols. 56v-71v).

  3. kateoplis:

    Sungseok Ahn, Historic Present


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  5. andrerochaillustration:

    The Space- Cube - André Rocha Illustration

    The imagery of a city enclosed within a futuristic cube. The survival of an isolated community like a medically assisted breathing patient.

    (via darksilenceinsuburbia)


  6. nearlya:

    Il Lee. ballpoint on paper

    (via darksilenceinsuburbia)


  7. Gary Numan - “Cars”


  8. Fifth Element - Diva Plavalaguna’s “Oh, giusto cielo!…Il dolce suono” from Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

    Performed by Inva Mula, acted by Maïwenn Le Besco


  9. laughingsquid:

    Animated Explanation of The Confusing Relationship Between China and the Sister Islands of Hong Kong and Macao

    Can we not talk about Asia without brushing off the fusion erhu, or unnecessary marking of ethnicity on even stick figures?


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