Fortean / Alternative News: Ancient Bone Art, Pareidolia Mahatma Gandhi and Fresno Thunderbird

13,000-Year-Old Bone With Mammoth Or Mastodon Carving May Be First In Western Hemisphere

Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists.

A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"It's pretty exciting, we haven't found anything like this in North America," said Dennis J. Stanford, curator of North American Archaeology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, who was a co-author of the report.

They hunted these animals, Stanford explained, and "you see people drawing all kinds of pictures that are of relevance and importance to them."

"Much of the real significance of such finds is in the tangible, emotional connection they allow us to feel with people in the deep past," said Dietrich Stout, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the research team.

The bone fragment, discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., contains an incised image about 3 inches long from head to tail and about 1 3/4 inches from head to foot.

"There was considerable skepticism expressed about the authenticity of the incising on the bone until it was examined exhaustively by archaeologists, paleontologists, forensic anthropologists, materials science engineers and artists," lead author Barbara Purdy of the University of Florida said in a statement.

The bone was found by a fossil hunter near a location, known as the Old Vero Site, where human bones were found side-by-side with the bones of extinct Ice Age animals in an excavation from 1913 to 1916.

It was heavily mineralized, which prevented standard dating, Stanford explained. But mammoths and mastodons had died out in the Americas by 13,000 years ago, so it has to be older than that. "It could be quite early," he added.

But the researchers wanted to be sure it was not a modern effort to mimic prehistoric art. They compared it with other materials found at the site and studied it with microscopes, which showed no differences in coloration between the carved grooves and the surrounding material. That, they said, indicated that both surfaces aged together.

In addition, the researchers said, there were no signs of the material being carved recently or that the grooves were made with metal tools.

"It either had to be carved from direct observation when the animals existed or has to be a modern fake" and "all indications are that the carving is the same age as the bone," said anthropologist Christopher J. Ellis of the University of Western Ontario, who was not part of the research team.

The only other report of an ancient bone in North America carved with the image of a mastodon came from Mexico in 1959, but questions were raised about that object and it subsequently disappeared.

It does appear to be the first American depiction of a mammoth or mastodon, said anthropologist David J. Meltzer of Southern Methodist University.

"I think the authors did a reasonable job making the case for the piece being genuine," added Metzger, who was not part of the research team.

The new discovery was made by James Kennedy, a fossil hunter, in 2006 or 2007. Kennedy noticed the image in 2009 when he was cleaning the bone and he then contacted researchers who began their study of the artifact.

The newly found North American image is similar to some found in Europe, raising the question of whether this is merely coincidence or evidence of some connection between the two, the paper noted.

Stout said the suggestion that the similarities between this and ancient European art might imply some cultural contact or movement of people across the Atlantic very early is controversial. That idea has previously been proposed by Stanford and others, but has attracted a lot of criticism and skepticism from other archaeologists, he said.

Metzger, too, said he doesn't "for a moment, think the specimen begs any questions about the larger issue of the peopling of the Americas. It's just one specimen - albeit an interesting one - of uncertain age and provenance, so one should not get too carried away." - huffingtonpost


The Fresno Thunderbird

Last week while attending the monthly Fresno Filmmakers Alliance mixer, a friend of mine approached me and asked me if I knew of any thunderbird sightings in the Fresno area as his wife and young son had recently spotted a large bird-like creature with a wing span estimated to be more than 12 feet in width.

For those who don't know what a thunderbird is, it's a term used in the cryptozoological world to describe large bird-like creatures that are associated with the Thunderbird of Native American mythology. Most thunderbirds sightings are of the feathered type, although some sightings have reported the creatures to have lizard-like features similar to a pterosaur.

Modern thunderbird sightings go back over 100 years with one of the first stories reportedly occurring in April 1890 in Arizona where two cowboys killed a giant bird-like creature with a huge wingspan. It was described as having smooth skin, featherless wings similar to that of a bat and a face that looked like an alligator. They are said to have taken the carcass back to town where they pinned it on the outside of barn with its wings outstretched the entire length.

Sightings continued into the 20th Century when in the 1940's several sightings occurred in Illinois where witnesses at first thought they were seeing a plane flying overhead until they saw the "plane" flapping it's wings. A few weeks later in another part of the state a man and his son saw a large bird creature flying at a height estimated to be around 500 feet and the shadow it cast was the size of a small passenger airplane.

One of the more stranger occurrences, and one I wanted to share, happened on July 25, 1977 in Lawndale, Illinois. A group of boys were playing in their back yard when two large birds approached and chased the boys. Two escaped unharmed, but the third boy, 10 year old Marlon Lowe, did not. One of the birds clamped it's talons around his shoulders and lifted the now terrified boy about two feet off the ground and carried him some distance before Low was able to fight off the bird, getting it to release him.

Most viewed this as some sort of tall tale made up by the boys, but given the description of the birds one has to wonder. The description matched that of an Andean condor; a large back bird with a white ringed neck and a wingspan of 10 feet. There's a problem though, the condor's talons are said to not be strong enough to lift that of a heavy object (i.e. a 10 year old boy). So what then did the boys see?

So this leads me back to the Fresno sighting. What exactly did the two see? Was it just a normal bird (say a hawk or crane) mistaken for something else? Someone mentioned a Californian Condor, but that is highly unlikely as the habitat for this species is in Southern California. Could a large bird like creature, one that was the inspiration for the Native American Thunderbird myth, be in the Fresno area skies? If there have been more sightings, hopefully those witnesses will hear of this article and share their stories. - fresnofamous


Head on over to Rick Phillips' site UFO Disclosure Countdown Clock and read OMG High Strangeness - Orbs Follow Car, Then, Man Sees HUGE `Rabbit' - MUFON Report. I believe the title is self-explanatory...Lon


Circus offers 'clown-selling' for people's big-top fear

A circus in Worcestershire is offering people "clown-selling" to get over their fears of the smiley entertainers.

Paul Carpenter, who performs as Popol the Clown, will be offering the therapy at John Lawson's Circus when it visits Studley from 24 to 26 June.

He said he had noticed an increasing number of people telling him they suffered from coulrophobia - fear of masks and disguises.

He said he thought horror films with clowns could be the source of the fear.

Mr Carpenter said characters such as Pennywise, the murderous clown in Stephen King's novel It, and the evil criminal mastermind the Joker in Batman, had contributed to the view of clowns as "scary".

He said: "We want to say to people 'give us a chance' - we're not all crazed psycho killers.

"We had more and more people saying to us 'keep away, we're scared', so we decided to do something positive about it."

Mr Carpenter said the people coming to the sessions were adults with a "very genuine" fear of clowns.

He said the therapy began with people meeting him without his clown make-up on.

He then gradually puts on the make-up and costume so they can see him become Popol before being invited to join him in the ring to interact without a show going on.

"We try to get people to confront their fears," he said.

"We have to treat them very gently, that's been the most effective way for them to get comfortable with us." - BBC


Mahatma Gandhi’s face seen on Mars!

An Italian space enthusiast, while going through pictures of Mars, claims to have found a structure on the face of the planet that resembles Mahatma Gandhi.

Matteo Lanneo was scanning through the latest images sent by the Mars Express probe when he came across the uncanny resemblance to India’s father of the nation, the Daily Mail reported.

The head appears to have a moustache and shaven, and has prominent eyebrows.

Experts say it is not the first time that a face has been seen on Mars’s soil.

In July 1976, the American Viking 1 Orbiter took a photograph that appeared to show a hill in the shape of a human face.

Space enthusiasts speculated that the structure was built by aliens.

However, an image taken with NASA’s HiRISE camera in 2010 showed the face was just a large, rocky hill.

The phenomenon of seeing faces is called “pareidolia” – where a stimulus is perceived as having significance, be it a symbol seen in a cloud or a face on a piece of toast.

Scientists say the phenomenon occurs because humans tend to recognise familiar objects as a survival technique. - discoveryon

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