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Dung-eating mites throw light on Inca civilisation
The Times ^ | 03/26/07 | Mark Henderson,

Posted on 03/26/2007 3:23:03 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster

Dung-eating mites throw light on Inca civilisation

Mark Henderson, Science Editor

Mites that eat llama dung are providing scientists with critical new clues to the rise and fall of the Inca empire and the civilisations that preceded it.

The soil invertebrates are allowing researchers to trace the growth and decline of the peoples of the Andes several centuries before the Spanish conquest in 1532 brought written records to the region for the first time.

The evidence gleaned from fossilised mites, preserved in sediments at a lake about 50km (30 miles) from the Inca capital of Cuzco, has shown how the great empire increased in size and complexity in the early 15th century.

The abundance of the fossil mites is directly linked to the amount of llama dung that was deposited on the pastures around Lake Maracocha at particular times, and can thus be used as a proxy for estimating the size of the herds and pack trains that grazed there.

From this a team led by Alex Chepstow-Lusty, of Montpellier University in France, has been able to reconstruct the fluctuating fortunes of local populations for an era from which no written records exist.

The new research suggests that after a period of sharp growth, the Inca civilisation’s power had already started to wane immediately before the arrival of Francisco Pizarro’s conquistadors. This could reflect the advent of European diseases to which indigenous people and livestock had no resistance. Even further back in history, the mite records also show how two earlier civilisations, the Whari and the Tiwanaku, moved higher into the Andes as temperatures rose during the 11th century, then declined, partly because of prolonged drought.

Dr Chepstow-Lusty said that the mite evidence opened a valuable new window on a period that has always been difficult to study because Andean civilisations never developed forms of record-keeping.

“We don’t have any historical documents before the Spanish arrived, and we have had to rely on archaeology and evidence from things like pollen and charcoal,” Dr Chepstow-Lusty said. “What we have now is a new tool that can be used directly to study large herbivore populations, which in this part of the world are intimately linked to humans.”

In a paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, his team has shown how mite numbers rise and fall in concert with well-documented socio-economic changes in the postconquest period. “When the Spanish arrived, the Inca seem already to have been in some kind of decline,” Dr Chepstow-Lusty said.

How invertebrates followed the empire

c1100 AD Whari and Tiwanaku civilisations start to decline. First major dip in the mite record from Lake Maracocha seen

c1200 Inca civilisation starts growing in Cuzco region

c1400 First signs of Inca expansion in mite record

c1438 Dramatic expansion of Inca empire; dramatic increase in the number of mites found at Maracocha

1525 Death of Huayna Capac provokes civil war between his sons, Huascar and Atahualpa. Mite data suggests decline

1532 First encounter between Francisco Pizarro and Atahualpa at Cajamarca, at which 168 Spaniards defeat Inca army and kidnap Atahualpa

1533 Murder of Atahualpa by the Spanish, followed by a rapid depopulation of the region because of smallpox and other diseases

1544-45 Two thirds of llamas in Cuzco area die of llama mange, a skin disease imported by the Spanish. Further fall in mite numbers

1572 Defeat of Tupac Amaru, the last Inca leader to resist Spanish rule

c1600 Reestablishment of rural communities in the region. Mite numbers begin to rise again

1719 Plague strikes Ollantaytambo region, with one hacienda reporting the loss of almost all indigenous workers. Mite numbers fall again


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; hairwaytosteven; history; inca; lama; mite

1 posted on 03/26/2007 3:23:06 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster; blam; SunkenCiv; AntiGuv; neverdem

Ping!


2 posted on 03/26/2007 3:23:47 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster (kim jong-il, kae jong-il, chia head, pogri, midget sh*tbag)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

My first thought was this was about Hillary and Obama.


3 posted on 03/26/2007 3:27:20 AM PDT by garyhope (It's World War IV, right here, right now courtesy of Islam.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster; FairOpinion; posterchild; grjr21; CitadelArmyJag; redwhit; americanbychoice3; ...
Plaza de las Tres Culturas
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Ping if you see a pertinent thread.

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4 posted on 03/26/2007 3:28:16 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
More traditional (traditionaler) history has the Incan Empire being only about a century old when Europeans arrived, and the Incan civilization scarcely older than that.

Ideas are that they mooched off the two civilizations which preceded them in the area, much how the Aztecs are considered to have mooched off the Toltecs and other cultures in the region after migrating there from what is now the western United States.

5 posted on 03/26/2007 3:32:43 AM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
the mite records also show how two earlier civilisations, the Whari and the Tiwanaku, moved higher into the Andes as temperatures rose during the 11th century

All of those Llamas must have caused global warming.

Al Gore would have known what to do.

6 posted on 03/26/2007 3:33:30 AM PDT by dinasour (Pajamahadeen, SnowFlake, and Eeevil Doer.)
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To: garyhope

Dung-eating mites = Schumer, Durbin, Leahy, Waxman, Boxer, Waters, Conyers...


7 posted on 03/26/2007 3:44:09 AM PDT by johnny7 ("We took a hell of a beating." -'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell)
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To: johnny7
You left out Barney Frank ....

Dung eating mites?

The collapse of a nation from within with the legalization and acceptence of queers.

8 posted on 03/26/2007 4:22:34 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true.)
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"This could reflect the advent of European diseases to which indigenous people and livestock had no resistance"


Kind of forgetting that little Civil War amongst the Inca leadership that wreaked so much havok and destruction.... (the reason Pizarro had such an easy time conquering them with only a handful of soldiers)

Tards are always ready to immediately blame the 'evil white man' for things they didnt cause.....
9 posted on 03/26/2007 4:27:07 AM PDT by wodinoneeye
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To: TigerLikesRooster
"Dung eating mites"

Great name for a rock group.

10 posted on 03/26/2007 4:42:13 AM PDT by Drawsing (The fool shows his annoyance at once. The prudent man overlooks an insult. (Proverbs 12:16))
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To: Drawsing

....from Australia.


11 posted on 03/26/2007 4:50:25 AM PDT by JB in Whitefish
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To: JB in Whitefish
Oh...I get it.

G'day mite.

12 posted on 03/26/2007 4:59:28 AM PDT by Drawsing (The fool shows his annoyance at once. The prudent man overlooks an insult. (Proverbs 12:16))
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To: garyhope

I saw "dung eating mites" and thought of the haughty Myan professor that Mel cussed out!


13 posted on 03/26/2007 5:02:24 AM PDT by 50sDad (Cultural Diversity means never having to say "I don't fit in.")
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To: TigerLikesRooster
whats brown and sounds like a bell

DUNG!!!

Say no more......

14 posted on 03/26/2007 5:49:10 AM PDT by Vaquero (" an armed society is a polite society" Heinlein "MOLON LABE!" Leonidas of Sparta)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

The Romans mooched off the Greeks.


15 posted on 03/26/2007 6:26:50 AM PDT by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: wodinoneeye
"This could reflect the advent of European diseases to which indigenous people and livestock had no resistance"

Tards are always ready to immediately blame the 'evil white man' for things they didnt cause.....

****

Yes they were (evil white men) (Spanish), armed with the latest of (military technology), who also brought(European diseases)with them and caused the single most devastating loss of life in the Americas. Killing off indigenous people (Inca), and livestock, (llama)as well. I doubt those civil wars had much to do with the deaths of tens of millions.

16 posted on 03/26/2007 9:26:49 AM PDT by anglian
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To: TigerLikesRooster; blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Thanks TigerLikesRooster. I tried clicking a link for that one last night and got something else. Glad you found it.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

17 posted on 03/26/2007 10:16:44 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Saturday, March 24, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Spain, the gift that keeps on giving.


18 posted on 03/26/2007 10:20:37 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: Drawsing

Never heard of the Butthole Surfers?


19 posted on 03/26/2007 10:21:51 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Saturday, March 24, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

They're full of crap!


20 posted on 03/26/2007 10:25:45 AM PDT by Sam Ketcham (Amnesty means vote dilution, & increased taxes to bring us down to the world poverty level.)
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To: SunkenCiv

I find these stories fascinating, but "dung mites" just isn't a career path I can get into. :-))


21 posted on 03/26/2007 10:28:48 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: anglian
Historical Review: Megadrought And Megadeath In 16th Century Mexico (Hemorrhagic Fever)

"The epidemic of cocoliztli from1545 to 1548 killed an estimated 5 million to 15 million people, or up to 80% of the native population of Mexico (Figure 1). In absolute and relative terms the 1545 epidemic was one of the worst demographic catastrophes in human history, approaching even the Black Death of bubonic plague, which killed approximately 25 million in western Europe from 1347 to 1351 or about 50% of the regional population.

The cocoliztli epidemic from 1576 to 1578 cocoliztli epidemic killed an additional 2 to 2.5 million people, or about 50% of the remaining native population. Newly introduced European and African diseases such as smallpox, measles, and typhus have long been the suspected cause of the population collapse in both 1545 and 1576 because both epidemics preferentially killed native people. But careful reanalysis of the 1545 and 1576 epidemics now indicates that they were probably hemorrhagic fevers, likely caused by an indigenous virus and carried by a rodent host.

22 posted on 03/26/2007 10:48:01 AM PDT by blam
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To: anglian

Did the Inca's diseases kill off the Spanish too?


23 posted on 03/26/2007 10:52:09 AM PDT by Eaker (You were given the choice between war & dishonor. You chose dishonor & you will have war. -Churchill)
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To: anglian
"Yes they were (evil white men) (Spanish), armed with the latest of (military technology), who also brought(European diseases)with them and caused the single most devastating loss of life in the Americas. Killing off indigenous people (Inca), and livestock, (llama)as well. I doubt those civil wars had much to do with the deaths of tens of millions. "

Ahem, 'White' people may have been the first to the Americas.

Kuelap - The Machu Picchu Of Northern Peru (Chachapoyas - White, blonde haired people)


24 posted on 03/26/2007 10:54:02 AM PDT by blam
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To: anglian
Vintage Skulls

"The oldest human remains found in the Americas were recently "discovered" in the storeroom of Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology. Found in central Mexico in 1959, the five skulls were radiocarbon dated by a team of researchers from the United Kingdom and Mexico and found to be 13,000 years old. They pre-date the Clovis culture by a couple thousand years, adding to the growing evidence against the Clovis-first model for the first peopling of the Americas."

Of additional significance is the shape of the skulls, which are described as long and narrow, very unlike those of modern Native Americans.

25 posted on 03/26/2007 10:57:46 AM PDT by blam
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Dung-eating mites throw light on Inca civilisation

Well, where the hell were these mites when I was doing my paper on Inca civilization? I could have used some help!

26 posted on 03/26/2007 11:18:44 AM PDT by Larry Lucido (RIP Mr. Brightside)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
..as temperatures rose during the 11th century, then declined..

Caused by pre-Incan SUV's no doubt.

27 posted on 03/26/2007 11:39:34 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Afghan protest - "Death to Dog Washers!")
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To: TigerLikesRooster; SunkenCiv
moved higher into the Andes as temperatures rose during the 11th century, then declined,

Gives yet another point of reference to the rising temperature in the Northern Hemisphere leading to the colonization of Greenland and later North America, occuring about the same time.

Unless, of course, you want to blame it on Incan SUVs, CFC's from the Incan's refrigerators, and llama farts.

28 posted on 03/26/2007 11:44:30 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (Hajjis HATE the waterboard! It can turn a clam into a canary so fast Harry Potter would be jealous.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

"Even further back in history, the mite records also show how two earlier civilisations, the Whari and the Tiwanaku, moved higher into the Andes as temperatures rose during the 11th century, then declined, partly because of prolonged drought."

Drought raises temperatures? I thought it was the other way around.

Are we now to suspect that global warming may be caused by dung mites?


29 posted on 03/26/2007 11:50:40 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Dung-eating mites - always have a certain grin on their tiny little faces...


30 posted on 03/26/2007 1:22:56 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Never let it be said that there are things we would never let be said.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Not to be confused with dust mites:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSjCLd50L5I


31 posted on 03/26/2007 1:46:28 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Never let it be said that there are things we would never let be said.)
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To: johnny7
Don't forget the dung-eating beetles:


32 posted on 03/26/2007 1:52:21 PM PDT by quark
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To: CholeraJoe

[llama] "pull my hoof".


33 posted on 03/26/2007 9:30:30 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Saturday, March 24, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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