History

The Aztec Death Whistle and the sound of a thousand ghouls they make

For decades, archaeologists thought the ancient Aztec Death Whistles were nothing more than disturbing skull-shaped toys for little Aztec kids. They studied how they looked, how they were made, and where they were found. But nobody thought to blow into one. When they did, they found that the creepy clay objects made a spine-chilling noise described by one archaeologist as “the scream of a thousand corpses”. Yeah, they’re that creepy. The ancient Aztec Death Whistle is made from clay and is typically shaped like (or decorated as) a human skull. The noise they make, which sounds like thousands of people shrieking, is at the high end of human hearing.  They were first associated with Aztec death rituals after two samples were found in the skeletal hands of…
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Medical

Who’s your mummy? How (and why) ancient Egyptians preserved their dead.

Unlike gangsters and politicians who go to great lengths to hide dead bodies, ancient Egyptians did everything they could to ensure the dead body stuck around. At the time, Egyptians believed survival of the body after death was necessary in order to “live again” in the afterlife. Thus the preservation of their dead was extremely important to the people of ancient Egypt (Editor note: Reeko said we were specifically forbidden to mention the “double your mummy back” guarantees offered by the ancient Egyptian funeral homes). Surprisingly, researchers this week found that the Egyptian practice of mummification was being carried out much earlier than previously thought. They found that embalming substances from the oldest-known Egyptian cemeteries showed mummy-making from as early as about 4300 BC – about…
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Biology

One-ton (2,200 pounds) man-eating crocodile caught in Uganda

The 2,200 pound bad-boy crocodile had already killed four men and injured many more when the villagers, who were terrified to approach Lake Victoria where the man-eater lived, finally had enough. Angry villagers approached the Uganda Wildlife Authority (presumably with torches in hand) demanding they do something about it – and they did. After a four-day search, the man-eating croc was trapped by officials using the old “meat on a hook” trick. The crocodile measured about 20 feet long, weighed in excess of one ton, and was estimated to be about 80 years old (yeah, I know, you’d think with 80 years of life experience behind him, he wouldn’t have fallen for the “meat on a hook” trick). Tipping the scales at 2,205 pounds, the…
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