Christopher Columbus Statues 

This image taken 2019. A long running sore. Now many voices call for such symbols to no longer affront the daily lives of those whose ancestors helped build America (and previous empires of the world) with their suffering.

Now statues are being torn down or desecrated because the matter has not been addressed.
June 13, 2020

NCAI Statement on the Removal of Christopher Columbus Statues

WASHINGTON, DC | The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, does not acknowledge Christopher Columbus as a hero. To Indigenous peoples, he was the opposite:

[O]ut of timbers for the Santa Maria, . . . Columbus built a fort [on Hispaniola], the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. . . . He took . . . Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. . . . [H]e got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail. . . . When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners began to die. . . .

In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale. . . .

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 3-4 (1980 Ed.).

This growing movement across the country to rid our shared spaces of symbols that represent hate, genocide, and bigotry illustrates that it is past time for all cities to stand on the right side of history moving forward,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp.

NCAI also strongly supports the recent actions taken by United States citizens and the international community calling for proper law enforcement reforms and the recognition of basic human rights for the African American community and all communities of color. We are humbled that these voices are including Indian Country’s perspectives. NCAI encourages local governments and their citizens to seek mutual understandings of their diverse perspectives and to develop peaceful solutions that are mindful of all human beings and our rich distinct and shared histories. Together we can build the tomorrow our children deserve to lead.


About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit


National Congress of American Indians

Embassy of Tribal Nations
National Congress of American Indians | Embassy of Tribal Nations, 1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

And a note in July 2020 from

“So, while there is little evidence that Trump and his supporters value human life, they do value statues, especially statues of anarchists: Confederate soldiers, slave owners, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan — a terrorist group — and Trump’s “hero,” Andrew Jackson, a leader in ethnic cleansing. “

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Land Grab attempted of Indian reservation whilst virus rampages

“June 6, 2020


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Native Organizations Encouraged by Recent Decision in Mashpee v. Bernhardt and Now Call on DOI for Recommitment to Tribal Sovereignty.

Yesterday, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rendered a decision in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in the case of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe v. Bernhardt. In its opinion, Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled:

The Court will grant the Mashpee Tribe’s motion for summary judgment and deny the federal defendants’ and defendant-intervenors’ motions for summary judgment. Furthermore, because the Secretary of the Interior’s September 7, 2018 Record of Decision is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law, the Court remands the matter to the Secretary of the Interior for a thorough reconsideration and re-evaluation of the evidence before him consistent with this Opinion, the 2014 M-Opinion, M-37209 – its standard and the evidence permitted therein – and the Department’s prior decisions applying the M-Opinion’s two-part test.

For the first time since the termination era, the Department of the Interior (DOI) attempted to disestablish a Tribal reservation, ordering the homelands of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to be taken out of trust. The order from DOI Secretary David Bernhardt came on March 27, 2020, as the Tribal Nation worked to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, during active litigation on the status of the land, and following the rescission of the 2014 Carcieri M-Opinion and the issuance of a new 4-part test to qualify under the first definition of “Indian” in the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). On March 30, 2020, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe asked the Court to issue an emergency restraining order to prevent DOI from taking immediate action to disestablish its reservation.

“The DC District Court righted what would have been a terrible and historic injustice by finding that the Department of the Interior broke the law in attempting to take our land out of trust,” said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman, Cedric Cromwell. “We will continue to work with the Department of the Interior — and fight them if necessary — to ensure our land remains in trust.”

The Court ruled DOI’s 2018 decision that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe did not prove it was “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934, and therefore did not meet the first definition of “Indian” under the IRA—making the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ineligible to acquire land in trust—was arbitrary and capricious. It remanded the decision to DOI with clear direction to issue a decision consistent with the 2014 M-Opinion’s standard and the evidence permitted therein, as well as DOI’s prior decisions applying the 2014 M-Opinion test. The Court further directed DOI to properly address each piece of evidence, give a reasoned analysis as to whether it is probative, explain any departure from past DOI precedent, and view all probative evidence in concert rather than in isolation. And importantly, the Court’s decision also mandates that DOI maintain the land in trust pending DOI’s new determination and prevents DOI from applying its new 4-part test in this case.

“USET SPF is pleased that the Court acted swiftly and justly to provide necessary certainty to the Mashpee Wampanoag in these uncertain times,” said USET SPF President, Kirk Francis. “The Department of the Interior was under no order to take the land out of trust, and so to attempt to rob the Mashpee of their homelands is nothing short of shameful. The Department should be assisting Tribal Nations as we work to reestablish our homelands after centuries of federal action designed to assimilate and terminate. Instead, actions by this Administration are aimed at perpetuating antiquated and regressive federal policies, resulting in the destabilization of our governments. While we celebrate this victory with Mashpee and all of Indian Country today, the centuries-long fight to protect and restore Tribal homelands is ongoing and we must remain steadfast in our vigilance. We continue to stand with Mashpee as the Department reexamines its evidence on remand.”

“On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, we congratulate the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on their historic victory. We consider this a win for all of Indian Country,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “The Mashpee Wampanoag relationship with the United States is one of political equality, derived from their inherent sovereignty, powers, and authority that long predates the United States. No federal agency or civil servant has the authority to diminish or in any way undermine that unique political relationship and standing. We will remain vigilant and stand united with Mashpee who have shaped and supported this country from the arrival of the first European settlers and will coexist as sovereign equals for generations to come.”

USET SPF and NCAI share a profound commitment to Tribal sovereignty and the restoration of Tribal homelands. In light of this commitment, we have been advocating for a fix to the Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar since it was handed down in 2009. Carcieri has created a deeply inequitable 2-class system, in which some Tribal Nations have the ability to restore their homelands and others do not. This 2-class system serves to deny these Tribal Nations a critical component of the trust relationship, vital aspects of the exercise of inherent sovereignty, and the opportunity to qualify for several government programs.

We continue to call for the immediate passage of a fix that contains the two features necessary to restore parity to the land-into-trust process:

(1) A reaffirmation of the status of current trust lands; and

(2) Confirmation that the Secretary has authority to take land into trust for all federally recognized Tribal Nations.

While this decision is an important step toward righting centuries of wrong against the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, our collective work is not finished. We urge and await a positive determination from DOI on Mashpee’s homelands once and for all. Our organizations will continue to fight for the restoration of Tribal homelands and the full delivery of trust and treaty obligations. We call upon DOI to recommit itself to the restoration of homelands, the trust obligation, and Tribal sovereignty.  ”


About the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, also known as the People of the First Light, has inhabited present day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. After an arduous process lasting more than three decades, the Mashpee Wampanoag were re-acknowledged as a federally recognized tribe in 2007. In 2015, the federal government declared 150 acres of land in Mashpee and 170 acres of land in Taunton as the Tribe’s initial reservation, on which the Tribe can exercise its full tribal sovereignty rights. The Mashpee tribe currently has approximately 2,700 enrolled citizens.


About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit


About the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF): 

Established in 2014, the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund (USET SPF) is a non-profit, inter-Tribal organization advocating on behalf of thirty (30) federally recognized Tribal Nations from the Northeastern Woodlands to the Everglades and across the Gulf of Mexico. USET SPF is dedicated to promoting, protecting, and advancing the inherent sovereign rights and authorities of Tribal Nations and in assisting its membership in dealing effectively with public policy issues. 
National Congress of American Indians

Embassy of Tribal Nations

National Congress of American Indians | Embassy of Tribal Nations, 1516 P Street NW, Washington, DC 200

Please watch this YouTube made in 2017 about the Tribe holding their government accountable:

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Africa: the suffering of DR Congo peoples

Coronavirus adding to their misery. Please follow this website:

And this website:

And as the elite demand their electric cars to virtue signal to the rest of us, we see the “dirty secrets” behind the making of such cars:

Can this Covid 19 contagion around the world help call a halt to exploiting those who find themselves in poverty and rethink raising them out of their desperate lifestyles?

And when elections happen, peaceful demonstrators are arrested.

Congo Lifts Coronavirus State of Emergency

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Ibrahimi Mosque, Palestine

From MiddleEast Eye:

“During the coronavirus lockdown, everything was shut down, so the Israelis used this as a time for them to steal more land from Palestinians, because there was nothing people could do about it,” Abu Sneineh said. 

According to Jaber, “one of the most effective tools that we have used as peaceful activists to maintain our presence in the city is by organising prayers at the Ibrahimi mosque,” referring to a weeks-long campaign pre-Covid-19 that drew thousands of worshippers for morning prayers. 

Now, the soldiers only let in a few dozen worshippers at a time, Jaber said, “under the guise of health concerns because of the coronavirus”.

“We know that they don’t care about our health, because they kill us everywhere we go,” he said. “They just use this as an excuse to not let people in, and take more control.”

An enlightening newspaper story from 2010:

“Levy’s father really was running for his life: it was Palestine, or a concentration camp. Yet Levy says that the analogy is imperfect – because now the jumping man is still, sixty years later, smashing the head of the man he landed on against the ground, and beating up his children and grandchildren too. “1948 is still here. 1948 is still in the refugee camps. 1948 is still calling for a solution,” he says. “Israel is doing the very same thing now… dehumanising the Palestinians where it can, and ethnic cleansing wherever it’s possible. 1948 is not over. Not by a long way.”

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Brazil: the Rainforest is dying. It is the heart of the Earth. Ecocide is the cause.

Please watch this video

Live Event Home Page

Images from the programme:

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Religious Deception in the New World

The ride of the fourth horseman

Revelation 6:7-8 tells us this about the fourth seal: “When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him.”

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says this about the color of the fourth horse: “ ‘Pale’ (chloros) denotes a yellowish green, the light green of a plant, or the paleness of a sick person in contrast to a healthy appearance.” Put bluntly, this horse is the color of death.

In Jesus’ parallel prophecy in Matthew 24, He explained that in the wake of religious deception, war and famine would come “pestilences” or disease epidemics (Matthew 24:7).

The Old Testament Revelations has triggered many an imaginative mind to take it to mean whatever the reader wants it to mean. Artists have created wonderful interpretations of what the vile horsemen might look like, such as this one:

Where this blog is concerned, I am using the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse as the closest tale which has been told for thousands of years to express how I think those victims of the invaders from Europe must have felt when they encountered them.

As the explorers, sailors, conquistadores, Friars and their host of animals, stepped off their ships onto land, not only did they look frightening but they also carried unseen threats. These were diseases to which the Europeans were accustomed over centuries. One of these was Smallpox. The earliest evidence of small pox disease dates to the 3rd century BCE in Egyptian mummies. Nobody knows its origin.

The disease historically occurred in outbreaks. The initial symptoms of the disease included fever and vomiting. This was followed by formation of sores in the mouth and a skin rash. Over a number of days the skin rash turned into characteristic fluid-filled bumps with a dent in the center. The bumps then scabbed over and fell off, leaving scars. The disease was spread between people or via contaminated objects. Millions have died from smallpox and only in recent times has a successful vaccine become available to protect some of the people in the world from it.

Image of victim of smallpox

As more Europeans moved into the Americas, more natives grew sick and died. The Europeans would recognise the illness, the natives would be overwhelmed by its horrific symptoms. 

They had no resistance to these foreign diseases. Millions of indigenous peoples across the Americas were extinguished so suddenly due to violence, disease, slavery and exploitation. 

The consequent lack of slave labour created a need to continue the exploitation of resources by the new ‘owners’.

Spain’s monarchs had broadly granted colonists dominion over Amerindian subjects, compelling native populations to pay tribute, often in the form of labor. The latter practice was largely an extension of the medieval encomienda, a quasi-feudal system in which Iberian Christians who had performed valuable military service were granted authority to govern people and resources in lands conquered from Iberian Muslims. Also, despite their objection to a trans-Atlantic slave trade of Amerindians, the Crown permitted their outright enslavement and sale within the Americas. During the first half of the sixteenth century, Spanish colonists conducted raids throughout the Caribbean, bringing captives from Central America, northern South America, and Florida back to Hispaniola and other Spanish settlements. Two of the principal arguments used to justify the enslavement of Amerindians were the concepts of “just war” (i.e. the notion that anyone who refused to accept Christianity, or rebelled against Spanish rule, could be enslaved), and “rescate” or ransom (the idea that Amerindians held captive by other groups could be purchased in order to Christianize them, and to rescue them from captors who were allegedly cannibals). 

Thus the slave trade began, and imported slaves from Spanish territories began to arrive by the boat load to replace the millions of Amerindians who had perished. They came from West Africa or Spanish colonies such as the Philippines.

From 1492 through the the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th century the Spanish Empire expanded built on the wealth and power gained from exploiting the New World. Queen Isabella pushed this moment in history into a lasting legacy. The crown’s main source of wealth was from gold and silver mined in Mexico and Peru. The empire reached the peak of its military, political and economic power under the Spanish Habsburgs, through most of the 16th and 17th centuries, and its greatest territorial extent under the House of Bourbon in the 18th century.

The intermingling of slaves stolen from their homelands to work for colonialists on land they secured under a legal framework created by the Spanish monarchy, set up generations of genetic mixtures which are difficult to disentangle today. Nevertheless, work continues on that task.

Andreas Morenos research in 2013 has studied genetic influences linked to medical aspects. For example, he and his team found:

Caribbean populations have a higher proportion of African ancestry compared to mainland American populations, a result of admixture during and after the Atlantic slave trade. Surprisingly, the authors found that all samples tightly clustered with present day Yoruba samples from Nigeria rather than being dispersed throughout West Africa. However, because other analyses suggested that there might have been two major waves of migration from West Africa, the authors decided to analyze “old” and “young” blocks of African ancestry separately. This analysis revealed that “older” segments are primarily derived from groups from the Senegambia region of Northwest Africa, while “younger” segments likely trace to groups from the Gulf of Guinea and Equatorial West Africa (including the Yoruba).”

Citation: Moreno-Estrada A, Gravel S, Zakharia F, McCauley JL, Byrnes JK, et al. (2013) Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean. PLoS Genet 9(11): e1003925. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003925

Paper author Andres Moreno-Estrada is a research associate in the lab of Carlos Bustamante. 

The consequences of the Spanish invasion, and ensuing other European land grabs, has been so immense, it is hard for us to grasp looking back through biased historical documents.

It is my belief that this exemplifies the prophesy of the Revelations and that we, as humans, could have taken a different path than the one pursued since 1492. But our mental illness through religious fervour leading to warring tendencies, our land grab greed, our pursuit of power and criminal acts against fellow humans over the previous centuries all culminated to that point in history to ensure this catastrophe would occur. It was the perfect storm.

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Terror dogs arrival in the New World

Conquistadors, the never to be forgotten military cultivated under the rule of a fanatical  Portuguese Queen, Isabella, and her less fanatical Spanish husband, Ferdinand, had developed fighting skills empassioned by the Monarchs’ religious fervour to ‘cleanse’ the Iberian Peninsula of all peoples found to be of non-Catholic faith. When Colombus set off to find India, he found the New World instead and so native people were called Indians.  The war crazed gangs of Conquistadores were sent in the ships following the sailings of Colombus, to support the work of the Franciscan friars in their efforts to convert the Indians to Catholicism. They also ensured they could bring back all the gold, silver and others precious items which would create the wealthiest country in the world for the next century.

Empty coffers, due to fighting endless wars, had left the Queen Isabella and husband Ferdinand exposed to enemies beyond their borders. If those enemies were not Catholics, then all the more reason to be rid of them! This would provide a circular argument to maintain a war footing for the spiritual reward in the after life. The Inquisition had been instigated by Queen Isabella just prior to Colombus setting sail. The idea of converting non believers through any means gave the Inquisitor General full range of his sadistic tendencies. The conquistadores saw themselves as supporting the conversion process wherever they found non believers. Franciscan friars accompanied them to use their techniques to persuade and ‘enlighten’ the non believers.

It is widely believed that during Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the New World, San Salvador Island was the first land he sighted and visited on 12 October 1492; he named it San Salvador after Christ the Saviour. Columbus’ records indicate that the native Lucayan inhabitants of the territory, who called their island Guanahani, were “sweet and gentle”. Every culture he and others he brought with him, did not appreciate those people in their own right. They were merely observed as ‘simple’, ‘heathens’ and maybe sources of wealth which could be stolen and taken back to Spain. Another Island nearby was Haiti, which he named Hispaniola. I have written earlier blogs about the different cultures on these two islands of the indigenous and fascinating populations. 

So it was that not only were the ships coming into the Caribbean and then sailing to release explorers and conquistadores to the lands of South America, but they also brought with them their culture, fervent religion, livestock and military experience.

Amongst the weapons they brought were their dogs.

This next extract is from ‘Dogs of the Conquistadors’

Posted on January 12, 2019

Dogs of the Conquistadors

Image of dogs brought by the conquistadors.

When Christopher Columbus returned to the New World in 1493, Don Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca, in charge of supplying the expedition, included 20 mastiffs and greyhounds as weapons. The Spanish destroyed the Guanches of the Canary Islands by use of war dogs. Later the dogs fought the Moors. The mastiffs, which could weigh as much as 250 pounds and stand three feet high at the shoulder, were brute attackers, while the greyhounds were speedy and made lightning-quick strikes, often trying to disembowel their opponent. In May 1494 the Jamaican natives did not look friendly, so Columbus ordered an attack. One war dog caused absolute terror, so Columbus in his journal wrote that one dog was worth 10 soldiers against Indians. During the Haiti campaign, opposed by a huge native force, all 20 dogs fought at the Battle of Vega Real in March 1495. Alonso de Ojeda, who had fought with them against the Moors, commanded the dogs. He released the dogs shouting, “Tomalos!” (basically, “Sic ’em!”). An observer said that in one hour, each dog had torn apart at least a hundred natives. The island was taken largely by terror of the dogs. Later conquistadores including Ponce de Leon, Balboa, Velasquez, Cortes, De Soto, Toledo, Coronado, and Pizarro all used war dogs.

Some Spaniards started a cruel practice called “la monteria infernal” (“the hellish hunting”) or “dogging,” setting the dogs on the chiefs or other important people in tribes. When their leaders were torn to shreds, the tribes often surrendered. To increase the ferocity of attacks, some conquistadores fed the dogs on the flesh of natives. One Portuguese fellow “had the quarters of Indians hanging on a porch to feed his dogs with.” The dog Amigo helped in the conquest of Mexico. Bruto, belonging to Hernando de Soto, assisted in the conquest of Florida. When Bruto died, the Spaniards kept it secret, because the natives feared him so much.”

This technique for using dogs in war had been common throughout Europe since hundreds of years before Christianity emerged as a reason for war.

The dogs used by Roman soldiers were probably a similar breed used by the Spanish and Portuguese. The Molossian.

Image of Molossian war dog with Roman soldier

Image of sculpture of Molossian dog

“Most scholars agree that the Molossus originated with the Molossis people in the mountainous regions of north west Ancient Greece and southern Albania. The Molossians were renowned for their vicious hounds, which were used by Molossian shepherds of Epirus in the mountains of northwestern Greece to guard their flocks. The poet Grattius, a contemporary of Ovid, writes “…when serious work has come, when bravery must be shown, and the impetuous War-god calls in the utmost hazard, then you could not but admire the renowned Molossians so much.” Ref: Grattius, Cynegeticon, 179ff

Image of Spaniards overwhelming the native population. 

There were millions of natives living in these lands, so removed from all the battles fought in mainland Europe. This would be like the arrival of the Hounds of Hell unleashed with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 

The First Horseman

“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” – Revelation 6:2

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First split hooved pigs in the Americas

Image of wild boar in present day Hong Kong
The species that make up the family Suidae are known as the pigs. All species in this family originated in Old World Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

Almost all of these pigs were domesticated from Sus scrofa, otherwise known as the wild boar, (also known as the “wild swine”, “common wild pig”, or simply “wild pig”) is a suid native to much of the Palearctic, as well as being introduced in the Nearctic, Neotropic, Oceania, the Caribbean islands, and Southeast Asia. The modern pig is the result of thousands of years of human activity at the same time as natural selection. 

Above: Image of map showing zoological classification Palearctic. 

For the purposes of this blog, the map of the Palearctic area is relevant to the Iberian Peninsula, on which I have run a theme over many previous blogs.

Since the pig was domesticated over thousands of years, beginning around 9000 years ago, by the time Colombus arrived in the Bahamas, pigs were often carried on ships and ran along with invading armies as a source of fresh meat when needed.

They belong to the order of domestic artiodactyls. Keeping them fattened reduces their inherited mobility and dulls their usually bright brains. Research has shown pigs to be smarter than dogs.

As pigs can eat almost anything (omnivores) and survive in most environments and climate conditions, they are easy to maintain and transport. Thus they have become a source of food in most parts of the world.

However the Jewish religion forbids the eating of pork.

I found this explanation, which I have edited:

Why Do Jews Not Eat Pork or Crab?


I was wondering, why can’t Jews eat pork or crab?


In the Bible……..two requirements for an animal to be kosher (fit to eat) for a Jew: Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves. Pigs do have split hooves but do not chew their cud, so we cannot eat pig meat and its derivatives. In the seafood department, we may only eat fish that have both fins and scales.

Here is a translation of the original Divine command, from Deuteronomy, Chapter 14:8-10:

And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall neither eat of their flesh nor touch their carcass.

These you may eat of all that are in the waters; all that have fins and scales, you may eat.

But whatever does not have fins and scales, you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.

……….there are moral lessons we derive from them.

Here are several given:

The birds and many of the mammals we do not eat are predators, while the permitted animals are not. We are commanded not to eat those animals possessive of a cruel nature, so that we should not absorb these qualities into ourselves.

The commandment refines the person and instills self-discipline.

Chani Benjaminson”

Jews and Muslims share their rejection of pork.

Throughout history, many nations have rejected Jews and Muslims, and they seem to be partial to eating pork. At the time of Colombus (it is now thought he was a Genoese Jew, but concealing the fact) Jews were persecuted in the Iberian Peninsula, though had been accepted centuries earlier when the Moors (Muslims) occupied much of the Peninsula. 

There is no doctrinal reason for Christians to avoid any kind of food.

Thus it was that the native pagan people of the Bahamas and later much of Latin America were invaded by fervent Christians. They were also presented with pigs, a creature which had never stepped a split hoof on their soil.

As animal diseases can cross to humans, such as swine flu, it is imperative to ensure health and safety when caring for animals.

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The Americas: the origin of wild turkey

Birds descend from a group of dinosaurs called theropods (from Greek meaning “beast feet”). The Turkey and chicken have the closest overall chromosome pattern to their dinosaur ancestor, possibly Tyrannosaurus Rex!

After the dinosaurs were gone, mammals and birds were able to become more diverse and occupy all the areas that the dinosaurs had previously dominated.

Image of Avian chart

T. rex belongs to a theropod subcategory known as coelurosaurs (“hollow-tailed lizards”).

Above, skeleton of a Turkey next to the mighty T.Rex.

Tyrannosaurus lived during what is referred to as the Lancian faunal stage (Maastrichtian age) at the end of the Late Cretaceous. Tyrannosaurus ranged from Canada in the north to at least New Mexico in the south of Laramidia.  During this time Triceratops was the major herbivore in the northern portion of its range, while the titanosaurian sauropod Alamosaurus “dominated” its southern range. Tyrannosaurus remains have been discovered in different ecosystems, including inland and coastal subtropical, and semi-arid plains.

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) evolved more than 11 million years ago. 

In 2014, Professor Griffin (University of Kent) discovered from his research that the: ‘Bird genomes are distinctive in that they have more tiny microchromosomes than any other vertebrate group. These small packages of gene-rich material are thought to have been present in their dinosaur ancestors.

‘We found that the chicken has the most similar overall chromosome pattern to its avian dinosaur ancestor.’

The research, which formed part of a vast study carried out over the past four years by the international Avian Phylogenomics Consortium, involved the analysis of the whole genome structure of the chicken, turkey, Pekin duck, zebra finch and budgerigar.

Disentangling the ancestral line of the Turkey from other birds back to a particularly relevant dinosaur is not easy. There is the fact that Tyrannosaurus rex and Meleagris gallopavo share a surprising skeletal characteristic: they both have a wishbone. Then there is Velociraptor,  a one-metre tall, two-legged predator that lived more than 70m years ago. Equipped with large claws on each leg, it was a close relative to the earliest birds. In a study of the fossilised forearms of velociraptors found in Mongolia in 1998, palaeontologist Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History found “quill knobs” – bumps where the feathers used for flight in modern birds are anchored to the bone with ligaments. 

“The more that we learn about these animals the more we find that there is basically no difference between birds and their closely related dinosaur ancestors like velociraptor,” said Professor Norell.

“Both have wishbones, brooded their nests, possess hollow bones, and were covered in feathers. If animals like velociraptor were alive today our first impression would be that they were just very unusual looking birds.”

Because of velociraptor’s relatively short forelimbs, the feathers would not have helped it to fly.

Known more formerly as the furcula, the wishbone is a flexible v-shaped bone that fuses the collarbones at the sternum. For birds, the wishbone is critical to flight: it acts as a spring that stores and releases energy generated by contractions in the breast muscles during flapping.

T. rex never went airborne — however, it did rely on its wishbone for structural support.

Wild turkeys, who live all over areas of the Americas, soar up to roost in trees at night. Some accounts clock them at 55 MPH (in short bursts). For reference, T. rex was a runner, and ran 18 MPH on average — about as fast as a polar bear today. 

Thousands of years later, but long before the Europeans arrived, the Americas were so familiar with wild turkeys that even this small clay whistle was beautifully created long before Christianity.

Columbus will have seen the turkeys amongst other amazing sights, when he landed in the Bahamas, and no doubt reported eating them amongst many other amazing foods never before digested by Europeans. To the natives they considered these common produce in their homeland.

9 years after Columbus discovered the New World, King Ferdinand II of Aragon – acting through the bishop of Valencia – ordered Miguel de Passamonte to bring a tom and a hen back to Spain for breeding. There is no written evidence that this plan to breed turkeys did succeed. But they became fashionable in Italy where it has been recorded Alessandro Geraldini, Bishop of Santa Domingo, presented his friend, Cardinal Lorenzo Pucci, with a pair in 1520, for example, he gave instructions that they were to be admired for their rarity rather than eaten and for a brief while thereafter they became the latest fashion accessory in Renaissance Rome. No self-respecting cardinal thought their palace gardens complete without a few birds strutting around the place. Cardinal Salviati, a member of a particularly notable Florentine family, was especially famous for his flock of turkeys.

By the middle of the 16th century the turkey became a delicacy. As Francois Rabelais’ mention of them in his Pantagruel (1548) suggests, turkey was initially an ‘elite’ foodstuff. In 1549, for example, Catherine de’ Medici had a feast of 70 turkeys served to her guests at a Parisian banquet, while her son, Charles IX, was gratified to be presented with a gift of a dozen tasty birds by the people of Amiens at about the same time. But before long turkey had become the food of choice for the masses, too, although not without some social upset. In 1557 the Patricians of Venice were so concerned about the widespread consumption of this ‘elite’ dish that sumptuary laws were passed to restrict it to the nobility.

In 1560 laws had to be passed to prevent turkeys bred for slaughter from being allowed to roam through the streets of London and it was amid such turkey-based chaos that the bird began to emerge as an ‘aspirational’ staple of the Christmas dinner table.

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Significance of horses and humankind

Horses, of the family Equidae, evolved over a geologic timescale of 50 million years. The horse belongs to the order Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates), the members of which all share hooved feet and an odd number of toes on each foot, as well as mobile upper lips and a similar tooth structure. This means that horses share a common ancestry with tapirs and rhinoceroses.

Horses, tapirs and rhinoceroses image from

The perissodactyls arose in the late Paleocene, less than 10 million years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. This group of animals appears to have been originally specialized for life in tropical forests, but whereas tapirs and, to some extent, rhinoceroses, retained their jungle specializations, modern horses are adapted to life on drier land, in the much harsher climatic conditions of the steppes. Other species of Equus are adapted to a variety of intermediate conditions.

Perissodactyla, as we know it today, is a small order of hoofed mammals, containing 17 Recent species in three families: Equidae (horses), Tapiridae (tapirs), and Rhinocerotidae (rhinoceroses). Despite being such a small order, the odd-toed ungulates have a wide distribution, being found across the Ethiopian, Palearctic, Oriental, and Neotropical zoogeographic regions. Two species have been domesticated – the horse (Equus caballus) and the donkey (Equus asinus); feral populations of these two species have been established across the globe, (re)expanding this order’s influence to the Nearctic and Australasian regions.

Perissodactyls were once much more diverse, including the enormous horned brontotheres, the bizarre browsing, clawed chalicotheres, and the largest land mammal of all time, the Eocene Indricotherium (formerly known as Baluchitherium). It stood five meters (over sixteen feet) tall at the shoulder.

Eocene Indricotherium

Image of horned brontotheres

Although Brontotheres resembled modern Rhinos, They were more closely related to Horses. Unlike the horns of Rhinos, their horns did not have keratin, and were side by side instead of front to back. When Brontotheres first appeared, They looked like early Horses (such as Hyracotherium).  

Another extinct Equus family  is the American Zebra, roaming the Idaho area around 3 million years ago.

Image of skeleton of American Zebra

In fact in their earlier stages of evolution, these two Families were often mistaken for each other. As each Family evolved, Horses lost their three toes whilst Brontotheres retained theirs.

Brontotheres roamed throughout North America. They encountered the volcanic Rocky Mountains. Many were killed by volcanic ash, and later became fossils. Millions of years later, their bones would emerge after heavy rains.

Domestication of Horses

Being sure where horses were first domesticated is still a mystery. But Ludovic Orlando along with 120 other researchers, molecular archaeologists from France’s CNRS research agency in Toulouse have made a major attempt to unravel the thread back through the centuries. Together they have amassed the world’s largest collection of horse DNA—some of it as old as 42,000 years. Now, after several years of intensive analysis, they still do not know when and where modern horses got their start. But he and his colleagues have a much clearer understanding of how humans shaped equine evolution, and they’ve uncovered two previously unknown lineages of horses: an ancient equine that roamed what is now Portugal and Spain some 4000 years ago, and another that lived in Siberia in Russia around the same time. Since then, both lineages have gone extinct, and there are no traces of them left in modern horse DNA.

Orlando also discovered that after the Arabs expanded into Europe in the seventh century, Arabian stallions outproduced males from other breeds, leading to their Y chromosome being present in all modern horses today. Thus, when the Arab stallion was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in 711 AD they brought with them the magnificent genetics of the Arab stallion. This has led to the famous Andalusian which has been recognized as an individual breed since the 15th century, and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries

The African Moors army, under their leader Tariq ibn-Ziyad, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from northern Africa and invaded the Iberian peninsula ‘Andalus’ (Spain under the Visigoths). 800 years later, the Conquistadores would ride their Andalusian horses brought on their Spanish ships to the New World and wreak terror amongst the natives, who had never seen a horse before.

The horse has been integral to the battle victories around the world, to the building of the early industrial society and transportation in the most difficult of terrains. They have also been fed to people as horse meat when no longer thought useful to humans.

Intense breeding of horses has increased speed, strength and endurance but has led to genetic damage too. Orlando’s work, he says “really illustrates that horses some 1000 years ago and horses now are two different creatures”.

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