Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Headlines! Lost Cities in Amazonian Rainforest!

This is pretty recent by my standards (i.e., younger than the Ice Age), but it's pretty startling given received wisdom about the agricultural productivity of the area. Possibly the reason that cities such as these gave way to today's scattered villages is that the people who lived there realized that these are, long-term, more viable?

Amazon Explorers Discover Signs of a Real El Dorado

Nitpicking here - El Dorado (the Golden One) was a person and he was "discovered." This was originally the name given by conquistadores to the ruler of the area around Lake Titicaca, who was periodically coated in gold dust. The Spanish located him, but were disappointed because the ceremony (which had grown in the rumors to being a daily occurance) was annual, and ended with a swim in the lake, washing off the gold; so there wasn't nearly the surplus of precious metal they had been imagining. They got it into their collective greedy head that there must be a bigger, better El Dorado out there somewhere. At some point in the grinding of the rumor mill it got mixed up with notions of the Seven Cities of Cibola and Quivera, and lots of cruel, greedy men died miserably looking for it in the rain forest. Served 'em right, too.

Also, Is Nessie Dead? But a legend never dies...

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