Tag Archives: Ancient Egypt

The Strongest and Most Misunderstood Creature in the World (Video)

When you think of strength in the animal kingdom, it’s natural to think of some of the massive majestic creatures we’re all so familiar with: lions, elephant, grizzlies, rhinos, hippos…

These animals are definitely powerful, but when you examine pound-for-pound strength, you quickly realize that it’s the smallest creatures who are really the most impressive lifters.

Take the leafcutter ant, for instance. These ants cut off and carry leaf segments that are sometimes up to 50 times heavier than they are.

Leafcutter ants march across the forest floor. Click to enlarge

But even the leafcutter ant is no match for the dung beetle when it comes to true strength.

Though their appetite for dung has given them a bit of a bad name in our society today, dung beetles (also known as scarabs) were actually worshipped in ancient Egypt.

An eagle-winged scarab beetle on the door to the Edfu temple in Egypt. Click to enlarge

The ancient Egyptians believed that the sun was rolled across the sky every day by a giant scarab god.

Dung beetles may not actually be gods, but they definitely have superhuman strength. The insects are able to drag dung balls up to 1,140 times their body weight- the equivalent of an average human pulling six double deckers buses full of passengers.

But there’s more to dung beetles than just eating poop.

For example, they’re actually pretty good parents. Dung beetles are one of only a few groups of insects that has been shown to actively care for their offspring. There is even a monogamous species of dung beetle that mates for life.

Even more interesting is the dung beetle’s navigation system. After rolling a fresh poop ball, the beetles will climb on top of it and dance around, orienting itself.

Scientists theorized that the beetles were actually using the Milky Way to orient themselves and navigate.

One of the dung beetles used in the Milky Way navigation testing. Click to enlarge

They tested this theory on one species of African dung beetle by putting little hats over them that covered their eyes.

The beetles still perched atop their poop balls to try and orient themselves, but only were able to wander around aimlessly without being able to see the stars, proving that they were using the heavens to navigate.

So give the dung beetle some credit- they’re probably much more intelligent and complex than you ever imagined.

To learn more about dung beetles, check out these 10 Fascinating Facts About Dung Beetles from About.com.


Royal Ancient Egyptian Brewer’s Tomb Accidently Discovered

A Japanese team headed by Jiro Kondo of Waseda University recently discovered the tomb of an ancient beer-maker known as Khonso Em Heb.

The tomb was accidently discovered while the team was cleaning the courtyard of another tomb at the Thebes necropolis in the Egyptian city of Luxor. According to CNN:

“Khonso Em Heb — who apart from being a brewer, headed the royal storehouses during the pharaonic Ramesside period (1,292–1,069 BC) — making offerings to the gods.”

Egypt’s antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim described Khonso Em Heb as the chief “maker of beer for gods of the dead”. The tomb was decorated and colored magnificently and is being labeled as one of the most significant finds of recent times (by archeologists as well as beer enthusiasts).

The tomb of the beer-maker to gods of the dead dates back to 1,200 BC. Credit: CNN.com
The tomb of the beer-maker to gods of the dead dates back to 1,200 BC. Credit: CNN.com

“Alcohol in ancient Egypt was very important — not just in terms of daily consumption but also as an offering to deities. Beer, in particular was very important,”

says Poo Mun Chou, a leading Egyptologist and professor at Hong Kong’s Chinese University.

The favored brew of ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom was a 3,200-year-old barley beer.

Beer during the New Kingdom period is believed to have been around one-fifth to one-tenth the price of wine making it a very popular and accessible drink for people of all classes.

While this is still the case in modern society, the beer we drink now would hardly be comparable to this barley or millet-based beverage that was enjoyed in ancient times. Although the beer of modern times can be considered a close cousin to this beer, this beer was more primitive and they actually had to use a tube to extract the liquid from below which would have had a fermented layer of substance floating on the top of the jar.

Check Out the full story from CNN here.


Lost Ancient Egyptian City Discovered Underwater 1200 Years Later (Pictures)

Before it was first located in 2000 by archaeologist Franck Goddio and the IEASM (European Institute for Underwater Archaeology), no trace of the ancient port city of Heracleion had been found, and records of it had all but disappeared. Since then, a number of dive teams have been deployed to search and map the area. Here are some of the amazing artifacts found in this sunken city so far (click an image to enlarge):

The ancient city, located just northeast of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, once served as the main Egyptian shipping port during the time of the Pharaohs.

Around the 7th or 8th century A.D. however, a combination of earthquakes and floods sunk the coastal section of land that Heracleion sat on into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. The map below shows the cities (red) and other lands (yellow) that are now submerged.

Heracleion and Ancient Egypt