This Week In History News, Sept. 29 – Oct. 5

Published October 4, 2019

Dinosaur fossil kept secret finally revealed, Machu Picchu's secrets unraveled, grim details of Incan child sacrifices uncovered.

Englishman Unveils Ichthyosaurus Fossil His Christian Ancestors Kept Buried In Their Yard

Julian Temperley With Ichthyosaurus Fossil

Richard Austin/SWNSJulian Temperley spent more than $3,600 to restore and mount the Ichthyosaurus fossil. He plans on using it on his 20-year-old cider brandy labels.

When a devout Christian family unearthed an enormous Ichthyosaurus fossil in Victorian England, they chose to rebury it to protect their religious beliefs. More than 150 years later, that same family has changed its mind, and decided to put the 90-million-year-old skeleton on display.

The fossil was found in 1850 by Somerset, England’s Temperley family. The family of builders’ merchants stumbled upon it while digging in a quarry and brought it home.

It was their devotion to creationism, however, that made the Temperleys feel they were “denying God” by displaying the prehistoric fossils. And so they returned the prehistoric remains to the dirt, burying it in their backyard. The find predated Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by several years, and was thus a problematic discovery.

The fossil stayed hidden for nearly two centuries — until now.

Read more here.

The Incas May Have Deliberately Built Machu Picchu Along Fault Lines. Here’s Why.

Aerial View Of Machu Picchu

Rualdo MenegatThe reasoning for choosing this extreme location was three-fold (protection against earthquakes, a water supply, and readily available building materials), but all resulted from one factor: fault lines.

The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the most stunning yet confounding pieces of architecture known to man, lasting for 600 years high atop the Peruvian Andes.

But why would 15th-century builders erect such an elaborate city on a narrow mountain ridge and fault line 8,000 feet above sea level?

It turns out those forbidding conditions were not only advantageous, but also may have helped the city remain intact for so long.

Dig deeper here.

Inca Child Sacrifices Were Left On Top Of Volcanoes To Be Struck By Lightning, According To New Study

Mummy Of Sacrificed Child

Dagmara SochaIncas considered children to be pure, thus making them the ideal human sacrifice to offer the gods.

New research on the remains of a handful of Inca child sacrifice victims has given scientists more clues as to how this sacrificial practice was carried out, and even more information about the children themselves.

Researchers believe the victims’ bodies were purposefully left on stone platforms high at the top of a volcano so that they could be struck by lightning. Whether or not a sacrificed child was hit by lightning would let the Incas know if the sacrifice was accepted by the gods.

See more here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.