Neanderthal constructions discovered in French cave


This video says about itself:

175,000-Year-Old Stone Circles Built By Neanderthals Have Been Found In French Cave

25 May 2016

Modern humans often regard Neanderthals as dim-witted, sluggish sorts, but, once again, evidence to the contrary has emerged. It turns out they were likely behind the building of a number of accomplished yet perplexing stone circles found inside France’s Bruniquel Cave decades ago, reports The Atlantic. A recently published study about the site reveals those structures date back about 175,000 years.

That places their making firmly in the time of the Neanderthal, notes National Geographic. According to Discovery News, a team led by French archaeologist Jacques Jaubert, a professor at the University of Bordeaux, also found evidence of fire, another indication of builders’ skills and resourcefulness. One probable reason for the use of fire is that it was used as a light source. Beyond that, why the blazes were started remains unknown. Given the great number of mysteries about the site that remain, researchers are eager to launch the next phase of exploration – digging into the ground below.

From Nature:

Early Neanderthal constructions deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwestern France

25 May 2016

Very little is known about Neanderthal cultures1, particularly early ones. Other than lithic implements and exceptional bone tools2, very few artefacts have been preserved. While those that do remain include red and black pigments3 and burial sites4, these indications of modernity are extremely sparse and few have been precisely dated, thus greatly limiting our knowledge of these predecessors of modern humans5.

Here we report the dating of annular constructions made of broken stalagmites found deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwest France. The regular geometry of the stalagmite circles, the arrangement of broken stalagmites and several traces of fire demonstrate the anthropogenic origin of these constructions.

Uranium-series dating of stalagmite regrowths on the structures and on burnt bone, combined with the dating of stalagmite tips in the structures, give a reliable and replicated age of 176.5 thousand years (±2.1 thousand years), making these edifices among the oldest known well-dated constructions made by humans. Their presence at 336 metres from the entrance of the cave indicates that humans from this period had already mastered the underground environment, which can be considered a major step in human modernity.

Booted eagle and architecture in Extremadura, Spain


This video is about flowers and birds in Parque Nacional Monfragüe in Extremadura, Spain.

After 23 April 2016, on 24 April 2016 we left Extremadura.

Before we left, for the last time the cuckoo, hoopoe, blackbird and collared dove sounds.

Jaraicejo, gates next to church, 24 April 2016

We went to Jaraicejo village. Next to the church, two gates.

Around the church, as usually, domestic pigeons flying. Suddenly, a bit of a panic as a booted eagle tries to catch one.

Swifts flying.

A white wagtail on a street.

Two inhabited white stork nests on the church.

Jaraicejo, street, 24 April 2016

We walk around, looking at Jaraicejo buildings.

Jaraicejo, another street, 24 April 2016

Jaraicejo, yet another street, 24 April 2016

We walk around some more.

Jaraicejo, Extremadura, street, 24 April 2016

Jaraicejo, center, 24 April 2016

We walk back to the village center.

Jaraicejo, on a street, 24 April 2016

Not far from there, we meet an elderly widow.

Jaraicejo, inside a house, 24 April 2016

She shows us her home. Judging from the antlers on the walls, there were deer hunters in her family.

We leave, as we have to catch the bus to Madrid airport.

Extremadura, bye-bye!

Kenyan woman saved from under collapsed building


This video says about itself:

5 May 2016

A woman has been extracted alive from the rubble of a poorly constructed six-storey building that collapsed in the capital of Kenya six days ago.

Lesser kestrels, nesting storks, old buildings in Trujillo, Spain


Trujillo main square

Still 11 April 2016. After the bullring of Trujillo in Spain, to the town center. The main square is called Plaza Mayor. Rain. The statue in the photo is of Francisco Pizarro, the best-known person born in Trujillo. His conquest of the Inca empire brought much bloodshed to South America.

Cuesta de la Sangre, Trujillo

While it kept raining, we went to the higher parts of the town. The photo shows the Cuesta de la Sangre; literally, ‘hill of the blood’. The ‘blood’ does not refer to the blood shed by Pizarro, or in the medieval wars in and around Trujillo between Christian and Muslim princes. It refers to the seventeenth century Holy Blood Church here.

Trujillo, on 11 April 2016

As we went still more uphill, the rain stopped for a while.

Trujillo, 11 April 2016

White stork, 11 April 2016

On church towers and roofs were several white stork nests.

White storks, 11 April 2016

The birds looked muddy on this rainy day. They greeted each other with bill-clattering, when a shift on the nest ended. In at least one nest there were at least two baby storks.

Collared dove, Trujillo, 11 April 2016

There were other birds as well, like this collared dove on a roof.

And a goldfinch in a tree. And a serin in another tree.

Lesser kestrel, Trujillo, Plaza Mayor, 11 April 2016

We went back to the Plaza Mayor square. Lesser kestrels flying around.

Lesser kestrels, swallows, bullfighting in Trujillo, Spain


This video is called Lesser Kestrel, Trujillo, Extremadura, Spain, 8 March 2011. It shows a male: with even more blueish-grey on its head than a common kestrel male. Females of both species have brownish heads.

After 10 April 2016, on 11 April, to the lesser kestrel nesting colony in Trujillo.

Trujillo, bullring, 11 April 2016

That nesting colony is in the bullring of Trujillo town. Special roof tiles enable the lesser kestrels to nest.

Trujillo, lesser kestrels sign, 11 April 2016

In front of the bullring is this information sign about the birds, and about the insects and other food which they eat.

There is less bloody bullfighting in Spain nowadays than there used to be. In Catalonia and the Canary Islands, it has been banned.

In Trujillo it is much less frequent now: about once a year. However, that infrequent bullfight would be soon. Male and female maintenance workers went in and out through the gate. That meant we could pass as well through the normally closed gate. A man rode around in the central, low part of the arena, leveling the ground. One could see that bullfighting is not only always dangerous for bulls, but sometimes for humans as well: there was a special infirmary room for injured matadores, picadores and banderilleros.

Mock bull, Trujillo, 11 April 2016

In another room, there was this mock bull for rehearsing toreros.

Barn swallow, 11 April 2016

Barn swallows used the catacombs of the bullring for less bloody activities: they nested there.

Barn swallow nest, 11 April 2016

Trujillo, inside the arena, 11 April 2016

We had unusual access to the center of the arena.

Spotless starlings, 11 April 2016

Spotless starlings, a south European and north African species, on the roof.

Spotless starlings, Trujillo, 11 April 2016

Lesser kestrels flying around, sometimes landing briefly on the bullring.

Lesser kestrel, 11 April 2016

They had not started nesting yet. As this was an unusually cold, rainy day in an unusually cold, rainy spring.

After the bullring, we went to the town center of Trujillo. Stay tuned!

Dutch Kinderdijk, windmills and nature


This video says about itself:

HOLLAND: Kinderdijkwindmills and nature

6 April 2016

Meet Kinderdijk, its 19 fantastic windmills and beautiful nature.

Dutch windmill video


This video is about working windmill De Verwachting in Tholen town in Zeeland province in the Netherlands.

From that mill, one can see another working windmill and the old town center.