1,000-year-old mummified monk revealed inside a statue for Buddha

1,000-year-old mummified monk revealed inside a statue for Buddha

A statue of a sitting Buddha that came from China to Netherlands, shocked the scientists after CT scan when it revealed a mummified Buddhist monk sitting in a lotus position inside the statue.
After the CT scan, the scientists found out that Liuquan’s internal organs had been removed, and they still don’t know how this was done.

Erik Bruijn, who’s a Buddhist expert, determined that the mummy was for a Buddhist Master called Liuquan, who belonged to the Chinese Meditation School, and lived around the year 1100.
The name Liuquan means “Six Perfections” according to Erik who also stated that It refers to the virtues perfected by a being who seeks buddhahood through the systematic practice of the six perfect virtues but renounces complete entry into nirvana until all beings are saved.

This practice was mainly in Japan, the monk had to follow a very strict diet eating just nuts and seeds to strip the body from fat, then he will follow another diet eating only tree bark and roots.
At the end of this diet, the monk began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Japanese varnish tree. The tea caused profuse vomiting as well as a rapid loss of bodily fluids, possibly making the body too poisonous to be eaten by bacteria and insects.
The monk was then placed in a stone tomb a bit larger than his body, which was equipped with an air tube and a bell. The will stay in lotus position and he would ring the bell each day to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stops ringing, the monk was presumed dead so they remove the air tube seal the tomb.

Many practicing Buddhists believe that mummies like that of Buddhist master Liuquan aren’t actually dead,but are rather in an advanced state of meditation.



Girl Is Frozen For 500 Years, Still Looks Alive

Girl Is Frozen For 500 Years, Still Looks Alive

When they found her in 1999 on an Argentinian volcano they were incredibly surprised by her appearance. Although she had been dead for the past 500 years, she still looked alive. Scientists call her ‘The Maiden’ and she is an Inca girl that was only 15 years old when she passed away. Very low temperatures helped her body to be conserved in perfect conditions. She was unfortunately chosen by the Incas as a sacrifice to their gods, current investigations suggest they took her to the top of a mountain and left her so she would freeze to death.

But here’s what’s really cool about her discovery, when she died, she contracted a bacterial infection very similar to modern tuberculosis. The study of this bacteria could potentially help fight new illnesses, even after 500 years, her sacrifice has the potential to cure modern diseases affecting people today. That is truly fascinating.

Watch the video:

Source: Daily Megabyte



Pristine 40,000-year-old mammoth skeleton uncovered in North Texas

Pristine 40,000-year-old mammoth skeleton uncovered in North Texas

By Heather Alexander

This nearly complete mammoth skeleton was found by the McEwen family in a gravel pit in Ellis County, North Texas. The family donated the potentially 40,000 year old find to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Experts say the skelton is almost perfectly preserved and somehow has remained in pristine condition for the tens of thousands of years since it died.

The ancient bones were found by the McEwen family on their land in Ellis County south of Dallas, the family has decided to donate it to the city’s Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  Estimiates put it at anywhere from 20-40 or even 60,000 years old.

“We were very excited to discover the mammoth in our sand pit and realize it was 90 percent complete. One of the greatest joys in this whole thing was to meet and see the excitement on the faces of the many volunteers,” said Wayne McEwen via a news release.

McEwen’s son and grandson made the amazing discovery during a regular day’s work back in May, according to a news release from the Perot Museum.  The pair were operating a dump track when the digger came to a sudden halt after hitting what turned out to be a massive tusk.

“Having been found in our own backyard, this stunning example of a mammoth skeleton is especially meaningful because it’s a part of our heritage and the natural history of North Texas,” said Colleen Walker, the Museum’s Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, in a news release.

“The Perot Museum is truly grateful to the McEwen family for their enormous generosity in sharing this discovery with us and the world.”

The mammoth is believed to be a female, which would have stood 8-9 feet high and weighed about the same as a modern day Asian elephant.

Bones show the animal fell on its left side and died, the shape is so clear even an untrained eye can make out the different parts of the skeleton.  The skull, lower jaw, various neck and back vertebrae, two shoulder blades, limbs plus ribs and pelvis are clear.

“I am extremely excited about this outstanding find. It’s very unique for North Central Texas,” said paleontologist and project director, Tom Vance in the news release. “What is so meaningful is to know that this animal walked through our backyard thousands of years ago.”

The mammoth is due to take its place at the Perot museum some time in September.

Source: http://www.chron.com
A 1.8 million year old skull indicates there may have been just one human species on Earth at that time

A 1.8 million year old skull indicates there may have been just one human species on Earth at that time

A new paper published in Science details a 1.8 million year old skull. The skull find has stirred up debate amongst palaeoanthropologists, as the authors of the new paper have asserted that the hominid skull shows that Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus are all part of a single evolving lineage that led to modern humans. Other scientists disagree however, saying there is still evidence that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa.

The new cranium, discovered in Dmanisi, (D4500), together with its mandible (D2600), represents the world’s first completely preserved hominid skull from the early Pleistocene. The cranium has a small brain case at 546 cubic centimetres and has a large prognathic face, meaning that its jaws project beyond the upper part of its face. It seems to have close structural similarities (morphological affinities) with the earliest known Homo fossils found in Africa.

The Dmanisi sample is now composed of five crania, and shows direct evidence for wide variation within the early Homo populations – but crucially, within the same species. This variation within the Homo populations is similar to that seen within modern Pan (chimpanzee) groups.

The authors conclude that the diversity seen in the African fossil record around 1.8 million years ago most likely reflects variation between groups of a single evolving lineage rather than species diversity. That single lineage is Homo erectus, with specimens previously attributed to H. ergaster reclassified as a chronosubspecies, H. erectus ergaster. As the Dmanisi population most likely originated from an Early Pleistocene (2.58 – 0.78 million years ago) expansion of the H. erectus lineage from Africa, the authors place it within H. e. ergaster and formally designate it as H. e. e. georgicus, referring to the samples’ geographic location. H. habilis and H. rudolfensis fossils require further testing to determine whether they too belong to a single evolving Homo lineage. Identifying the hominid groups and identifying variation within the populations will aid in understanding the evolution and dispersal of early Homo.

Not all palaeoanthroplogists agree with the authors of this new paper. A previous paper sought to confirm taxonomic diversity in early Homo. The Nature paper showed that three newly discovered fossils, aged between 1.78 and 1.95 million years (Myr) old, showed that there were two contemporary species of early Homo, in addition to Homo erectus, in the early Pleistocene of eastern Africa. This finding added further support to the classification of a skull found in 1972 as a separate species of human, Homo rudolfensis. The skull was the only example of this species which contributes to the contention over its lineage.

A co-author of the Nature study, Fred Spoor, told BBC News that Lordkipanidze et al.’s analysis of the cranium describing the shape of the face and braincase was in broad and sweeping terms, and that those Homo sapiens are not defined using such a broad overview.  Very specific characteristics had been used to define H. erectus, H. habilis and H. rudolfensis, and these were not were not indicated by the landmarks that the team used.

It is clear from this recent finding and previous work that the Dmanisi site still has much more to offer in discoveries of our lineage.

Source: http://www.iflscience.com/
Clue to Disease’s Spread in a 6,200-Year-Old Grave

Clue to Disease’s Spread in a 6,200-Year-Old Grave

The oldest Schistosoma egg ever found was unearthed recently in an archaeological dig in Syria, and its surroundings suggest that ancient Mesopotamians may have contributed to the spread of schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease.

Also called bilharzia or snail fever, schistosomiasis is caused by Schistosoma flatworms that live in freshwater snails, which they leave to burrow into humans wading or swimming. They migrate to blood vessels in the bladders, bowels or sexual organs of their hosts.

Infestation can cause bloody urine, anemia, kidney failure and bladder cancer. More than 700 million people in the world — mostly the rural poor — live in areas at risk for it.

The egg was discovered in a 6,200-year-old grave in Tell Zeidan, an ancient farming village near the Euphrates River, and was sifted out of dirt from the corpse’s pelvic region. Control samples from the head and foot areas had no eggs, so the soil was presumably not contaminated later, according to the study, which was published June 19 by Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Although the village is too arid for wheat or barley, both were grown there, suggesting that it had irrigation ditches, which were first dug in that part of Mesopotamia 7,500 years ago. That suggests that human intervention helped spread the disease in one of the cradles of civilization, said Dr. Piers D. Mitchell, a Cambridge University paleopathologist and a co-author of the study.

Previously, the oldest egg was found in a 5,200-year-old Egyptian mummy.

Source: New York Times