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Enigma Of Alien Gargoyle Atop Ancient Scottish Church Now Solved

An ‘alien’ gargoyle carved on the exterior of a 12th-Century Scottish abbey is causing waves on social media.

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Enigma of Alien Gargoyle Atop Ancient Scottish Church Now Solved
Photo Credit: The Paisley Abbey alien gargoyle (image had been cropped). Source: Colin / CC BY-SA 2.0

Ashley Cowie, Ancient Origins

Believed to have been founded as a holy site in the 7th century by Saint Mirin (or Saint Mirren) the 12th century Paisley Abbey is a Scottish parish church of the Church of Scotland situated on the east bank of the White Cart Water in the center of the town of Paisley in Renfrewshire, about 12 miles (19 km) west of  Glasgow.

A gargoyle carved high up on the abbey’s roof is making waves on social media because it mirrors the Xenomorph creature from the 1979 movie Alien, and Glasgow Live reports photographs are going viral on Facebook and Twitter.

The outside of the Paisley Abbey in Scotland, where the alien gargoyle can be seen. (Lairich Rig / CC BY-SA 2.0 )
The outside of the Paisley Abbey in Scotland, where the alien gargoyle can be seen. (Lairich Rig / CC BY-SA 2.0 )
Stretched For Protection

Architecturally, gargoyles are stonemasons’ tools, carefully carved with spouts, which are designed to take water away from the sides of buildings, therefore preventing rainwater from eroding masonry and its connecting mortar. Medieval architects sometimes created rows of ‘grotesques’ with water troughs cut in the backs of the gargoyle, and the reason these fantastical creatures often look ‘stretched’ is because the longer the gargoyle, the further rainwater was directed from walls.

Spiritually, however, the primary application of the gargoyle was to illustrate evil through the form of a tormented looking creature. It believed to frighten off evil spirits and protect those that it guards within the church. But the Paisley Abbey Alien gargoyle has a different story altogether. Now, before you get to thinking maybe Giorgio A. Tsoukalos from History Channel’s Ancient Aliens was right and start to think maybe a 12th century stonemason had travelled forward in time, watched the movie, and hopped back again, the answer is much simpler.

Alien Spotted At Paisley Abbey In 1990s

Reverend Alan Birss told BBC News that during a refurbishment project at the abbey in the early 1990s, 12 medieval gargoyles, which had been on the abbey for hundreds of years had been replaced and he thinks that one of the stonemasons must have been “having a bit of fun.” Only one of the original gargoyles remains outside the abbey today to demonstrate how they would have looked originally, before the alien took over. The building’s interior also features medieval grotesques.

12 Paisley Abbey gargoyles were replaced in 1991. The set includes ‘see no evil’, ‘speak no evil’, ‘hear no evil’ and the alien gargoyle. Colin / CC BY-SA 3.0
12 Paisley Abbey gargoyles were replaced in 1991. The set includes ‘see no evil’, ‘speak no evil’, ‘hear no evil’ and the alien gargoyle. Colin / CC BY-SA 3.0

Mr. Birss said a stonemason from an Edinburgh firm was contracted to create the new gargoyles when the film was “fairly new” but he thinks the mason wasn’t deliberately copying the alien in the film and it was just a “concept of an alien.” Mr. Birss also said that an internet search showed that someone had pointed out the similarity as far back as 1997.

From Alien Gargoyles To Treasure Filled Drains

Besides the carved alien on the roof of Paisley Abbey drawing attention, in the early 1990s an extremely finely constructed 13th century vaulted drain was rediscovered running from the abbey to the White Cart River. According to a Historic Environment Scotland document titled,  Paisley Abbey , the drain measures at least 90 meters long (295 feet), up to 2 meters wide (6.5 feet) and up to 2.2m high (7 feet) and before archaeologists could access it they had to pump out water.

The walls of the ancient drain hold stonemasons’ marks, and it was found to contain many items, some of which are now on display in the abbey, including: a slate marked with musical notation, which is the oldest example of polyphonic music found in Scotland. According to Kenneth Elliot’s 2000 book Musical Slates: The Paisley Abbey Fragments, the drain also contained imported cloth seals, 15th century chamber pots, tweezers and carved bone handles.

If you like you can take a virtual tour of the drain on YouTube.

Paisley Abbey is a Museum of Movies

Paisley Abbey Drain is designated by Historic Environment Scotland as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and as wonderful as it might be, perhaps the abbey’s most historically significant feature is the tomb in the choir incorporating a female effigy widely believed to be  Marjorie Bruce , the mother of Robert II. Opposite Marjorie Bruce lie the tombs of Robert III of Scotland and Simon fitz Alan and furthermore, Paisley Abbey is also the burial place of all six High Stewards of Scotland and the wives of Robert II and King Robert III.

Marjorie Bruce statue on her tomb in Paisley Abbey, where the alien gargoyle can be seen. (Stephencdickson / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
Marjorie Bruce statue on her tomb in Paisley Abbey, where the alien gargoyle can be seen. (Stephencdickson / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Those visitors to Scotland on the trail of another 90s blockbuster, Braveheart , the Glasgow Live article reminds us of Paisley Abbey’s links with the legendary William Wallace , and that you can find out more by joining guided tours at the abbey on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm.

This article (Enigma Of Alien Gargoyle Atop Ancient Scottish Church Now Solved) was originally created for Ancient Origins and is published here under Creative Commons.

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New Evidence Reveals Antarctica Was A Swampy Rainforest Full Of Dinosaurs 90 Million Years Ago

A new study paints a picture of a very different prehistoric Antarctica, one that was warmer and teeming with life.

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New Evidence Reveals Antarctica Was A Swampy Rainforest
Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) — Antarctica has always tantalized researchers and scientists with its mysterious ice-covered lands.

A newly published study about the climate of the mid-Cretaceous period is adding stunning new questions to the mix as researchers claim to have discovered evidence of a 90-million-year-old temperate rainforest that once existed in the South Pole region. The study paints a picture of a very different prehistoric Antarctica, one that was much warmer and teeming with life.

An international team of geoscience researchers acquired their evidence while aboard the research icebreaker RV Polarstern in the Amundsen Sea near the Pine Island Glacier. Their drill rig descended to ocean depths of 3,300 feet and then penetrated through to 90 feet beneath the seafloor to extract a perfectly preserved sample of forest soil with a sediment core composed of fine-grained silt and clay.

In their paper, recently published in Nature, the scientists wrote:

“A sedimentary sequence recovered from the West Antarctic shelf—the southernmost Cretaceous record reported so far—and show that a temperate lowland rainforest environment existed at a palaeolatitude of about 82° S during the Turonian–Santonian age (92 to 83 million years ago).”

A CT scan of the dark-brownish gray soil revealed densely packed fossil roots, pollen, and spores of at least 65 types of vegetation including conifers, ferns, and flowering plants. No animal fossils were recovered but the soil was dated to about 90 million years ago, which was the golden age of the dinosaurs. With average annual temperatures of about 53-55 degrees Fahrenheit (12-13 Celsius)—68-77 Fahrenheit (20-25 Celsius) during the warmest summer months—scientists say this region, 560 miles from the South Pole, would have been a swampy rainforest full of dinosaurs, flying pterosaurs, and insects.

“The preservation of this 90-million-year-old forest is exceptional, but even more surprising is the world it reveals,” said the study’s co-author Professor Tina van de Flierdt, from the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial. “Even during months of darkness, swampy temperate rainforests were able to grow close to the South Pole, revealing an even warmer climate than we expected.” 

The region would have been like an entirely different world from the frigid, glacier-encrusted South Pole we see today. Despite the region experiencing an annual four-month polar night, marine geologist Johann Klages of the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research in Germany says the estimated temperatures would be analogous to modern-day New York City.

Other scientists compared the temps to those found in New Zealand. The annual mean air temperature was only two degrees warmer than contemporary Germany. River and swamp water would have reached up to 20 degrees Celsius and annual rainfall volume was equal to contemporary Wales.

The study also has ramifications for climate research as the work suggests much higher atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels than previous climate models showed for the mid-Cretaceous period.

In addition to the stunning revelation of dense vegetation and flourishing life in pre-historic Antarctica, the research provides a new window into how climate conditions and COlevels dramatically shape life on Earth.

By Jake Anderson | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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See The 2,000 Surviving Temples Of Bagan, The Ancient Capital Of The Pagan Kingdom

Built by the kings of the Pagan Empire, the existing temples of Bagan have outlasted pillaging armies and natural disasters.

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See The 2,000 Surviving Temples Of Bagan, The Ancient Capital Of The Pagan Kingdom
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

It almost seems like time has stopped inside this former capital of the Pagan Kingdom. In the present-day village of Bagan in central Myanmar (formerly Burma), ancient spires from 12th and 13th-century Buddhist temples still stretch skyward near the shores of the Irrawaddy River in Southeast Asia.

Today, more than 2,200 temples stretch across the 26-square-mile plain of Old Bagan. These include the remains of more than 10,000 religious monuments constructed during the peak of the Pagan Empire. The sacred landscape here reflects the devotion and merit of the early Buddhists that resided in the area.

It’s a wonder the ancient temples are still standing, especially since Bagan sits near the Sagaing Fault, a tectonically active area. An especially large quake in 1975 nearly decimated 94 temples all by itself.

“It was a loud roar like the sea,” recalled one English archaeologist of the massive earthquake. “Then the pagodas went off, one after the other. First there was a cloud of dust and then, like water cascading, down the sides came bricks, stones, and sand.”

At the time, the country was isolated from the rest of the world by its military dictatorship, and so the outside world wasn’t aware of the damage until days later.

Major repairs didn’t begin for another 20 years; since 1995, more than 1,300 structures have been either rebuilt or massively repaired. Some preservationists have criticized the shoddy workmanship and historically inaccurate repair methods.

Regardless, in 2019 Bagan recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site — 24 years after the military government first nominated it in 1995.

Temples Built Under Pagan Rule

Most of the ancient temples were built between 1057 and 1287 under King Anawrahta, who formed the first Burmese kingdom. Anawrahta also introduced his people to Theravāda, the oldest extant school of Buddhism. This became the dominant religion and the cultural catalyst for the Pagan Empire.

The Theravāda Buddhist tradition of merit-making spurred rapid temple construction. Merit-making is a concept that focuses on good deeds — but also emphasizes using wealth for generosity. Accumulating wealth for giving purposes became a spiritual practice.

Aside from temples, some other monuments in Bagan are called stupas or pagodas — large structures often with a relic chamber inside. Anawrahta built the Shwezigon Pagoda, which houses a replica of an important Buddhist relic: a tooth of Buddha himself.

Subsequent kings commissioned temples of their own. The next king of Bagan, Sawlu (reigning 1077-1084), was the son of Anawratha. He was incompetent and ultimately assassinated. After Sawlu, another son of Anawratha took the throne. Kyanzittha reigned from 1084 to 1113 and built many temples, but the most iconic of them was the Ananda Temple.

Following Kyanzittha was King Alaungsithu, whose son, Narathu, murdered him for the throne. Narathu reigned for three short but chaotic years and built the largest temple in Bagan, the Dhammayangyi.

Several generations later, Narathihapate was the last true king of Pagan, ruling over modern-day Myanmar for more than three decades until 1287 — when the Mongols invaded.

Some of the beautiful temples in Bagan today.
Fall Of The Pagan Kingdom

The Pagan kingdom began its decline in the mid-13th century, as the powerful few increasingly seized dwindling resources for themselves. Leaders wanted to keep accumulating religious merit, but they’d run out of room to expand their lands. Merit-making donations kept rolling in, as Buddhists looked to overcome apathy through virtue.

By now, a significant area of Upper Burma’s arable land had been donated to religion for merit. When the throne lost this essential resource, it was the beginning of the end.

In 1271, Mongol ruler Kublai Khan sent his representatives to request tribute from Pagan, but Narathihapate refused. Khan sent more reps out the next year, but either Narathihapate executed them or bandits killed them. Either way, they didn’t return to Kublai Khan.

This ultimately triggered the Battle of Ngasaunggyan, remembered mainly by Marco Polo’s written accounts.

The Battle of Ngassaunggyan was the first of three battles fought between the two empires. By the end of it all, the Mongols had successfully conquered the Pagan Empire. It was the end of the end.

Though the empire fell, its 250-year success in dominating over the Irrawaddy Valley was not in vain. It birthed the Burmese language and unified its people under Theravāda Buddhism, still practiced by the vast majority of the country. Bagan’s temples stand in tribute to the lost kingdom.

Some of Bagan’s ancient temples are gilded in gold.
The Temples Of Bagan Today

Today in Bagan, the remaining examples of ancient Buddhist architecture are still distinctive and awe-inspiring. The monuments have retained most of their original form and design, even though the building techniques and materials haven’t always been historically accurate.

Nevertheless, the setting is breath-taking. The Bagan plain is partially covered in trees, and flanked by the bend of the Irrawaddy River. Distant mountains frame the scene of hundreds of temple silhouettes rising above the tree line. Some show their age with grass and brush spurting out of their cracks, while others shine in golden gilded glory.

The interiors are just as beautiful. Many contain frescoes, carvings, or magnificent statues of Buddha. It makes you wonder if the Buddhists and kings responsible for all these gorgeous monuments received whatever merits they were looking for in the afterlife. At any rate, their descendants — and the rest of us — are still awed by their beauty and grandeur.

Built by the kings of the Pagan Empire, these temples have withstood plenty of pillaging armies and natural disasters — another major earthquake hit them in 2016. Only a handful of the temples are regularly visited, but tourists are starting to catch on to their ancient beauty.

Aside from a golf course, one paved highway, and a 200-foot watchtower, Old Bagan remains a largely undisturbed mecca of historic architecture.

This article (See The 2,000 Surviving Temples Of Bagan, The Ancient Capital Of The Pagan Kingdom) was originally created for All That Interesting and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Surprise Discovery Reveals Neanderthals Loved Seafood And Were Excellent Fisherpeople

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Photo Credit: Science

Some Neanderthals really enjoyed their surf and turf rather than mammoth steaks, according to a new study.

The recent excavation of a cave site along Portugal’s coast revealed a wealth of fossilized remains of food, including fish, birds and mammals. It’s estimated that Neanderthals lived in the cave, known as Figueira Brava, between 86,000 and 106,000 years ago.

Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago (40 kya [thousand years ago]).
Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago (40 kya [thousand years ago]).

The discovery sheds light on Neanderthal populations who relied on the sea as a source of food, in addition to hunting and gathering on land — a much different picture than those who were hunting mammoths in bitterly cold climates.

These Neanderthals enjoyed a diverse diet.

From the sea, they could feast on limpet, mussels, clams, brown crabs, spider crabs, sharks, eels, sea breams, mullets, dolphins and seals. Marine birds also included mallards, common scoters (a large sea duck), geese, cormorants, gannets, shags, auks, egrets and loons.

Recovered fragments of Cancer pagurus (brown crab). (Mariana Nabais/João Zilhão)
Recovered fragments of Cancer pagurus (brown crab). (Mariana Nabais/João Zilhão)

On land, they hunted red deer, goats, horses, tortoises and aurochs, an extinct wild ox. They supplemented with plants like remnants of olive and fig trees as well as pine nuts taken from pine trees.

Neanderthals living in Italy and across the Iberian Peninsula likely would have followed a similar lifestyle with a Mediterranean climate.

The study published Thursday in the journal Science.

In fact, the amount and diversity of marine fossils found in the cave exceeds other more recent sites. This suggests that Neanderthals were comfortable and practiced at catching seafood. Previously, this level of adaptability was only associated with modern humans living in southern Africa at the same time.

“Figueira Brava provides the first record of significant marine resource consumption among Europe’s Neanderthals,” the researchers wrote in the study.

For researchers, it’s another way of narrowing the gap between modern humans and Neanderthals.

Some researchers believe that the introduction of seafood into the diet of early modern humans helped their cognitive development because of Omega-3 fatty acids and other brain-boosting nutrients. That contributed to cultural and technological developments that led them to migrate out of Africa and spread across the globe.

“If this common consumption of marine resources played an important role in the development of cognitive skills, it did so on the entire humanity, including Neanderthals, and not only the African population that spread later,” said João Zilhão, study author and Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies researcher at the University of Barcelona.

In recent years, researchers have uncovered proof that “Neanderthals had a symbolic material culture,” Zilhão said.

Zilhão published a study two years ago about 65,000-year-old cave paintings found in three caves on the Iberian Peninsula that are credited to Neanderthals. This aligns with another discovery of pendants and shells colored with pigments, also thought to be the work of Neanderthals.

“[These findings] support a view on human evolution in which the known fossil variants, such as Neanderthals’ in Europe and its African anatomy contemporaries — more similar to ours — should be understood as remains from our ancestors, not as different higher-lower species,” Zilhão said.

But why has it taken so long to establish that Neanderthals adapted to coastal living? The researchers suggest that it’s because many of the caves they would have used are likely beneath the sea now, due to a rise in sea level over time.

Earlier this year, a separate analysis of clam shells and volcanic rocks from an Italian cave shows that Neanderthals collected shells and pumice from beaches. And due to specific indicators on some of the shells, the researchers also believe Neanderthals waded and dove into the ocean to retrieve shells, meaning they may have been able to swim.

There was evidence that the shells were shaped by stones to make them thin, sharp and resilient. The shells were dated to between 90,000 to 100,000 years ago. This is before the arrival of modern humans in the Western Europe region.

This aligns with evidence from another study suggesting that some Neanderthals suffered from surfer’s ear,based on bony growths found on the ears belonging to a few Neanderthal skeletons.

This article (Surprise Discovery Reveals Neanderthals Loved Seafood And Were Excellent Fisherpeople) was originally created for Dipatch-Argus and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Watch: Clap In Front Of The Mayan Kukulkan Pyramid & It Mimics The Sound Of The Quetzal Bird

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Mayan Kukulkan Pyramid
Photo Credit: Pexels

What’s written in our history books about the Pyramids is best taken with a grain of salt. When you do your own research and look at the work of many scholars who are vested in this subject, one thing becomes abundantly clear: We practically know nothing about the Pyramids, including why they are here and who built them.

It’s fascinating that these structures were built by multiple societies, all over the world, across different time periods, and they had absolutely no contact with each other whatsoever. That alone should raise an eyebrow. Why did they all build pyramids? What were their purpose? We simply don’t know, and we only have bits and pieces of this mystery solved.

Anybody that tells you that they know how the pyramids were built is not telling the truth, because we don’t know. The great pyramid contains a number of mysteries. It weighs 6 million tonnes, it’s footprint is 13 acres, it spans more than 750 feet along each side, it’s 481 feet tall, and it took more than 2 and a half million individual blocks of stone to construct. And it’s not just large in size, it’s really precise. The great pyramid is locked into the cardinal directions of our planet, and is targeted within three sixtieth of a single degree. No modern builder would create a large building and align it to true north within a fraction of a single degree … yet these ancient civilizations did.” – Graham Hancock

There are uncountable strange mathematical anomalies when it comes to the great pyramid in Egypt. There are too many to name here, but if you’re interested in that, I suggest you check out the work of Graham Hancock. I’ve also included some information and a few links to articles that go deeper into this subject toward the end of this article. But for now, I want to focus on the Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza (Mayan ruin).

Scientists have shown how sound waves ricochetting around the tired steps of the El Castillo pyramid create sounds that mimic the sound of the Mexican quetzal bird, a sacred animal in Mayan culture. This was actually first recognized by California-based acoustic engineer David Lubman in 1998. The ‘chirp’ can be triggered by clapping your hands at the base of the staircase and only at the base of the staircase. (source)

Below is a video demonstration of this on youtube.

How remarkable is that: The ancients could build this pyramid to make the exact sound of the sacred animal they worshipped. It’s mind-altering to think about. It’s a temple dedicated to Kukulkan, also known as the “feathered serpent.” Quetzalcoatl was also a “feathered serpent” and many scholars believe that Kukulkan and Quetzalcoatl were one in the same person.

Considered to be a mythical tale, Spanish chronicler Juan de Torquemada states that Quetzalcoatl was ‘a fair and ruddy complexioned man with a long beard.’ Another describes him as follows:

“A mysterious person… a white man with strong formation of body, broad forehead, large eyes, and a flowing beard. He was dressed in a long, white robe reaching to his feet. He condemned sacrifices, except of fruits and flowers, and was known as the god of peace…When addressed on the subject of war he is reported to have stopped up his ears with his fingers.”  (source)

Graham Hancock, one of the world’s foremost researchers into such things, gives another description from Central American Mayan tradition in his book, Fingerprints of the Gods:

“He came from across the sea in a boat that moved by itself without paddles. He was a tall, bearded white man who taught people to use fire for cooking. He also built houses and showed couples that they could live together as husband and wife; and since people often quarrelled in those days, he taught them to live in peace.”

This figure is spoken of the Mesoamerican culture.

Strange Pyramid Findings

If you take the height of the great pyramid and multiply it by 43,200, you get the polar radius of the Earth. If you measure the base perimeter of it, and multiply it by the same number, you get the equatorial circumference of the Earth.

“The number 43,200 is derived from a key motion of the Earth, which is called the precession of the Earth’s axis.” (Graham Hancock)

The 43,200 number represents the number of days in 20 epochs of precession.

“In other words, during all the centuries of darkness experienced by Western civilization when knowledge of our planet’s dimensions was lost to us, all we ever really needed to rediscover that knowledge was to measure the height and base perimeter of the Great Pyramid and multiply by 43,200. How likely is this to be an accident?” – Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods)

How on Earth did they do this? Where did this knowledge come from? There is also a lot of evidence suggesting that all of the pyramids on our planet are much older than we think.

And then we have other strange findings, like when Archaeologist Sergio Gomez discovered “large quantities” of liquid mercury in a chamber underneath the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan (feathered servant), an ancient city located in Mexico. Rosemary Joyce, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, said that archaeologists have found mercury at three other sites around Central America. So this isn’t something new, but why? (source)

One explanation, outlined in research published in Science in 1975 by archaeo-astronomer John Carlson, demonstrated that a hematite object excavated at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo in the Gulf Coast of Mexico could act as a compass oriented to magnetic north if it was floated on liquid mercury. Carlson suggested that the Olmec might have used liquid mercury for this purpose. Other scholars have stated with absolute certainty that liquid mercury was used as early as 1000 BC.

In 2005, a giant pyramid complex consisting of 11 structures was discovered in Bosnia. One of the structures is larger than the great pyramid. The majority of scholars brought in to study it have little to no doubt that these are real. This complex is also associated with strange electromagnetic phenomenon, suggesting that they could have been some type of perpetual motion or energy machines. You can learn more HERE.

The Takeaway

The truth is, as Graham Hancock once said; we are like a species with amnesia. We have bits and pieces of a humungous puzzle that we are only beginning to understand now. Human history and evolution are in large part unknown, and there are so many things that challenge our current theories. From extraterrestrials to the pyramids to stories about civilizations like Atlantis, there is still so much to uncover. It’s quite clear that we have to unlearn what we’ve been taught and re-gain our thirst for knowledge to uncover any sort of truth on this matter. You will never see things like this within the mainstream, despite the fact that many prominent academic leaders are heavily vested in these subjects.

This article (Watch: Clap In Front of the Mayan Kukulkan Pyramid & It Mimics The Sound of the Quetzal Bird) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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