Pine nuts, monk seals, and mushrooms were a part of the Neanderthal diet.

Reconstruction of a Neanderthal (left) and a Homo Sapien (right). Image source: Natural History Museum

When we think of Neanderthals, we imagine strong human-like creatures who hunted gigantic beasts such as the woolly mammoth. They were hardy beings who were intelligent enough to hunt animals much larger than them. Recent research reveals that the diet of the Neanderthals was diverse. This is contrary to the popular perception of them being only meat-eaters.

Their diet depended on the region they lived.

Neanderthals may have enjoyed mammoth steaks (literally!), but that wasn’t the case for those who were living next to the ocean. The clues for what Neanderthals ate lie in their teeth. …

#1. Alexander was not successful in India.

Viking Raids by Nicholas Roerich (1901). Christian chroniclers rather than Vikings dominated the narrative of the Viking Age. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

‘History is written by the victors,’ is a well-known quote that is often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill. The saying is not without merit and is widely used in historical debates. But is the quote always correct?

In most cases, winners wrote history in their favor, but there are a few outliers. You may wonder how is it possible for defeated people to dominate the historical narrative of any event. They can, and it has happened on multiple occasions throughout the ages.

History is not written by the victors, but by those who are skilled at documentation.

There are many…

Aníbal Milhais frustrated the enemy so much that they went around him rather than fighting him.

Aníbal Milhais, seated bottom center, better known as “Soldier Millions”. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The First World War was dubbed the “War to End All Wars,” yet it set the stage for a more catastrophic war, the Second World War. Nations and empires battled for ideological reasons, and the common soldier paid the price. When discussing conflicts, it is easy to overlook the stories of the average person who bears the brunt of the war. We talk about politics, generals, and strategies, but the young men fighting on the frontline are frequently reduced to numbers.

Aníbal Milhais was such a brave young man, whose extraordinary courage during the First World War saved the lives…

#2. Nine out of ten gladiators survived a fight

Gladiator mosaic displayed at Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy dated 320 CE. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Gladiator contests of Ancient Rome are the very definition of blood sports. They transport us back to a more barbaric time, when crowds cheered brutal deaths in the arena.

But were gladiator fights indeed death matches? The answer is not as straightforward as we may think. Yes, killings were a part of the games, but it was an exception rather than the rule.

The primary goal of the games was to provide entertainment. Crowds were hooked onto the games for long durations. They cheered their heroes in the arena, so why would they want them dead?

According to a detailed…

You might be able to outrun a T. rex.

Photo by Jon Butterworth on Unsplash

The Tyrannosaurus Rex (T. rex) is one of the most well-known and well-liked dinosaurs. The T. rex has become an essential pop culture icon thanks to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, children’s toys, museums, and amusement parks. We may say that public infatuation with dinosaurs plays an important role in children’s scientific education; it is the rockstar of the dinosaur world.

But, many of our impressions about the T. rex are flawed because of the image created by Jurassic Park. When people think of Jurassic Park, we imagine a wildlife reserve with animals from the Jurassic period, which lasted 201–145 million…

Marcy Borders managed to escape death on 9/11 but lived in pain for the rest of her life

“Dust Lady “, Marcy Borders photographed on September 9th 2001, after surviving the terror attacks. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Marcy Borders’ workplace started shaking at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001. She was a legal assistant at the Bank of America, and the unexpected shock took her by surprise. Her coworkers tried to calm her down. But how could she stay cool when she watched tables, supplies, and people tumbling out of their windows?

Terror had struck.

Borders was a survivor of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. She was photographed covered in dust from head to toe as she rushed out of the World Trade Center.

She became known as the ‘Dust Lady’ around the world.

Borders was grateful…

Declared as the National Hero of Afghanistan posthumously, Ahmad Shah Massoud tried to warn the world of an impending danger.

Ahmad Shah Massoud reading in his bunker. Image source and credits The Massound Foundation.

An Afghan war hero was assassinated on September 9, 2001, two days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The warrior, who succumbed to the injuries from a suicide attack by the Al Qaeda, was Ahmad Shah Massoud. The date of his death raised doubts about whether the killing had anything to do 9/11.

Massoud had fought valiantly against the Soviet Union and the Taliban, establishing an oasis of democracy in war-torn Afghanistan. In April 2001, he informed world leaders about the upcoming 9/11 terror attacks, but his warnings went unheeded.

According to declassified CIA records, Massoud…

Antiques want you to maintain a safe distance and listen to their stories.

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

“Do not touch. No flash photography or video recording,” read the sign next to a painting in the museum.

There were other signs like this throughout the premises. I was ten when I first visited a museum. Fossils, rare books, antique weapons and armors, and a much-coveted Egyptian mummy greeted me. I stood back and marveled at them. The museum tour guide warned us not to touch the items on display. They wanted to be left alone. I’ve always enjoyed museums and historical sites since I was a kid. …

Lives of workers and the environment were secondary to profits.

Photo by Kouji Tsuru on Unsplash

The bubbling metal reminded me of Orcs making weapons in the Lord of the Rings. Dust was flying all over the place. It wasn’t your typical job interview. In my crisp, well-tailored suit and a silk necktie that I had saved for rare occasions, I was a misfit touring the plant. The noise levels were unbearable.

Was I in the right place? The recruiter’s early conversations had painted a different picture. I wasn’t sure what I was doing in a dusty workplace after six years of intensive research on metals and their properties.

I tried to recollect if I learned…

Thanks to a canceled TV show, a gutsy chef, and travel across three continents, I reconnected with my childhood reading habit.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I love the smell of books, old and new. If there’s one scent I’d like to feel forever, it’s the smell of books. Since childhood, the library was a special place for me. Most kids at my school dreaded the idea of sitting silently in a room with no television. For me, a trip to the library was a special occasion, one that I looked forward to the entire week.

I loved reading. My classmates and I challenged to see who could finish the most books in the shortest amount of time. The contests were serious business. We had to…

Prateek Dasgupta, MS

Polymath interested in History, Science, and the History of Science. Former engineer, writer, and full-time tea connoisseur. Contact:

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