The Pinocchio Rex.

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Scientists have discovered a new species of dinosaur that belonged to the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex.
The remains of the long-snouted tyrannosaur, formally named Qianzhousaurus sinensis and nicknamed Pinocchio rex, were found near the city of Ganzhou in southern China. Researchers believe the animal was a fearsome carnivore that lived more than 66 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period.
The bones were discovered on a construction site by workmen who took them to a local museum.
Experts from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and the University of Edinburgh then became involved in examining the remains.
With an elongated skull and long, narrow teeth, the predator would have looked very different from a T rex, which had thick teeth and more powerful jaws.
Palaeontologists had been uncertain about the existence of long-snouted tyrannosaurs.
Previously, just two fossilised tyrannosaurs with elongated heads had been found, and since they were juveniles it was unclear whether they were from a new class of dinosaur or simply at an early growth stage.
It is thought that Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived alongside other tyrannosaurs but would not have been in direct competition with them, since they probably hunted different prey.
Experts at the University of Edinburgh said the new specimen was of an animal nearing adulthood. It was found largely intact and “remarkably well preserved”.
Read on via Pinocchio rex: new dinosaur species discovered in China | Science | The Guardian.

Ancient Incan Rings of Moray.

imageContributor: leiris
Grouped together in Peru’s lush Cuzco region, the ringed Incan ruins known as Moray have long been a mystery, but it is looking more and more likely that the nested stone rings may have been part of a large-scale agricultural experiment.
Unlike a number of the elaborate metropolises and statuary left behind by the Incan people, the rings at Moray are relatively simple but may have actually been an ingenious series of test beds.
Descending in grass-covered, terraced rings, these rings of rings vary in size, with the largest ending in a depth of 30 meters (98 feet) deep and 220 meters (722 feet) wide.
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Studies have shown that many of the terraces contain soil that must have been imported from other parts of the region.
The temperature at the top of the pits varies from that at the bottom by as much as 15ºC, creating a series of micro-climates that — not coincidentally — match many of the varied conditions across the Incan empire, leading to the conclusion that the rings were used as a test bed to see what crops could grow where.
Edited by: SkareMedia (Author), Rachel (Admin), oriana (Admin), EricGrundhauser (Admin)
via Moray | Atlas Obscura.

Dark Ancient Trees by Beth Moon.

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Off to Market, Madagascar, 2006
From 4,000-year-old pines in California to Welsh yews carved into pulpits, photographer Beth Moon has spent 14 years travelling the globe in search of exquisite trees.
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Rilke’s Bayon, Cambodia, 2007
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Heart of the Dragon, Yemen, 2010 All photographs: Beth Moon
Ancient Trees; Portraits of Time by Beth Moon is published by Abbeville Press.
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The Nantglyn Pulpit Yew, Wales, 2008 
via Beautiful dark twisted fantasies: the world’s most ancient trees – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian.

A Short History of Showering.

Personal hygiene hasn’t always been an integral part of grooming, yet the need to clean oneself easily and quickly was as pressing in ancient times as it is today.
Bathing in a tub was cumbersome, so those who could bathed under waterfalls. These were the first showers used by man.The first man-made showers that provided the privilege of bathing in the privacy of one’s homes dates back to the time of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
These were generally enjoyed by the wealthy because it involved having someone—a slave in most cases—pouring jugs of water from above. There are wall paintings in temples and buildings showing how servants bathed ancient Egyptian queens and members of the royal family.
Excavations of wealthy homes in Thebes, El Lahun, and Amarna found stone-lined chambers equipped with sloped floors that allowed bath water to drain.
The ancient Greeks had indoor showers at gymnasiums which they installed through advances in aqueducts and plumbing. Jets of cold water cascaded from the ceiling while bathers stood under it.
The ancient Romans, like the Greeks, too had showers in their bathhouses that can still be found all around the Mediterranean and in modern-day England.
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, public bathing fell out of favor, especially the mixing of the sexes because bathing naked in front of the opposite sex enticed lust, which according to Christianity was sin.
While public baths fell out of use in Mediaeval times, contrary to popular belief, sanitation did not.
Indeed, the crusaders brought soap back from the far East to Europe, and soapmaking first became an established trade during the so-called “Dark Ages”. What was lost was the sophisticated water and sewage systems developed by the Greeks and the Romans.

A communal bath in ancient Greece with men standing under two water spouts shaped like panthers’ heads.
Source: A Short History of Showering | Amusing Planet

The Great Pie a Recipe fit for a Queen.

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15th-century banquet. © The Art Archive / Alamy
submitted by Emma McFarnon
Exploring the significance of food in the royal court of Mary of Guise – mother of Mary, Queen of Scots –

Great Pie

Ingredients
• 1 kg mixed game (venison, pheasant, rabbit and boar)
• 2 large onions, peeled and diced
• 1 garlic clove
• 120 grams of brown mushrooms, sliced
• 120 grams smoked back bacon, diced
• 25 grams plain flour
• Juice and zest of 1 orange
• 300 ml chicken stock
• 70 ml of Merlot wine
• Salt and pepper
Preparation: (serves eight to 12)
1) Preheat oven to 180°C.
2) In a frying pan, brown the game.
3) Soften the onions and then add the garlic, mushrooms and bacon and fry for a few minutes.
Add the stock and orange juice and zest. Raise it to a boil then simmer for an hour until the meat is tender.
4) Let the mixture cool and add it to your short crust pastry case.
Add a pastry lid and press it onto the lip of the base then trim it. Cut a steam hole or two and brush with a beaten egg all over.
5) Put the pie in the oven and bake for one hour. Cool before serving.
Read on via Fit for a queen: 3 medieval recipes enjoyed at English and Scottish royal courts | History Extra.

Origins of The Scottish Hogmanay.

Fireworks for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
Residents of Scotland mark the arrival of the New Year with particular passion in a holiday they call Hogmanay that draws on their history of Viking invasions, superstition, and ancient pagan rituals.
Hogmanay’s origins date back to pagan rituals that marked the time of the winter solstice.
Roman celebrations of the hedonistic winter festival of Saturnalia and Viking celebrations of Yule (the origin of the twelve days of Christmas) contributed to celebrations in Scotland around the New Year.
These celebrations and other ceremonies evolved over the centuries to become the Hogmanay holiday celebrated in Scotland today. During the Middle Ages, the pre-existing pagan winter festivals were overshadowed by the feasts surrounding Christmas, and the New Year was moved to coincide with Christian holy da
Following the reformation in Scotland, however, celebration of Christmas was discouraged, and so the gift-giving and celebration that accompanied Christmas elsewhere took place at New Year, giving rise to the uniquely Scottish celebration of Hogmanay.
The various local traditions found in Scotland relating to fires also hark back to the ancient past.
In the pagan winter celebrations, fire symbolised the newly resurgent sun coming back to the land, and was believed to ward off evil spirits dwelling in the darkness.
Fires still play a major part in Hogmanay celebrations, with torchlight processions, bonfires and fireworks popular throughout Scotland.
Another custom known as “first footing” dictates that the first person to cross a home’s threshold after midnight on New Year’s Eve will determine the owner’s luck for the New Year.
The ideal visitor bears gifts—preferably whiskey, coal for the fire, small cakes, or a coin—and should be a man with a dark complexion.
Why? The answer goes back to the 8th century, when the presumably fair-haired Vikings invaded and caused mayhem.
via New Year’s Traditions around the World and Their Origins | Ancient Origins