Sunday October 21, 2018

An Auschwitz mug that held a secret treasure for 70 years

Between 1940 and 1945, about 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland.

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Secret jewelry, Image credits- Reuters.com
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The staff at the Auschwitz museum have uncovered jewelry secretly hidden in an enamel mug since the liberation of the wartime Nazi death camp in 1945.

The mug, one of the thousands of kitchenware items seized by Nazi guards from those deported to the camp in southern Poland during World War II, was found to have an inside double bottom, under which a gold ring and necklace wrapped in a piece of canvas were hidden.

The objects, believed to have been made in Poland in between 1921 and 1931, were discovered during maintenance of the museum’s enameled kitchenware exhibits.

“When I picked up this mug, it turned out that there were hidden objects inside,” museum staffer Hanna Kubik said.

Recovered mug, Image credits - Reuters.com
Recovered mug, Image credits – Reuters.com

“With time, the fake bottom had detached from the cup, so it was clearly visible that inside there was a bundle and you could see a fragment of the chain and a ring”.

Between 1940 and 1945, about 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland.

Those sent there had belongings taken away upon arrival, many of which are on display today.

Many hid valuables inside, items the museum says are still being discovered years later. However, their owners often remain anonymous because of the lack of traces on the objects to identify them.

The museum, which says it has more than 12,000-enamelled kitchen items — like cups, pots, bowls, kettles, jugs — in its memorials collection, said the jewelry would now be stored in “in the form reflecting the manner in which it had been hidden by the owner.”(REUTERS)

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A Significant Find By Archaeologists Hint At Piranha Like Fish In Jurassic Era

The new fish is a most interesting example of convergent evolution

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Fossil Fish
A new piranha-like fish from Jurassic seas with sharp, pointed teeth that probably fed on the fins of other fishes is seen in this artist's reconstruction of a fossil which was discovered in southern Germany in this image released from Eichstaett, Bavaria, Germany. VOA

You can call it a prehistoric prequel.

Scientists said on Thursday they have unearthed in southern Germany the fossil of a fish that, with its mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, strongly resembled today’s piranhas, the stars of more than their fair share of Hollywood horror films. But this one lived during the Jurassic Period 152 million years ago.

Named Piranhamesodon pinnatomus, it is the earliest known example of a bony fish — as opposed to cartilaginous fish like sharks — able to slice flesh rather than simply swallowing prey, enabling it to attack victims larger than itself as piranhas can.

Piranhamesodon, about 3-1/2 inches (9 cm) long, lived in the sponge and coral reefs of the Solnhofen archipelago, a shallow tropical sea in what is now Bavaria. Piranhas are freshwater fish that inhabit rivers and lakes in South America.

Fossil Fish
A new piranha-like fish fossil from Jurassic seas with sharp, pointed teeth that probably fed on the fins of other fishes, discovered in southern Germany from the time of dinosaurs and from the same deposits that contained Archaeopteryx, is seen in this image released from Eichstaett, Bavaria, Germany on October 18, 2018

Piranhamesodon was small, but its mouth was worthy of a scary movie. It boasted long, pointed, dagger-like teeth along the outer edge of its upper jaw and at the front of its lower jaw. It also had triangular teeth with serrated cutting edges on the side of its lower jaw.

“We were stunned that this fish had teeth which are capable of slicing flesh. It comes from a group of fishes, the pycnodontids, that are famous for their crushing teeth,” said paleontologist Martina Kölbl-Ebert of the Jura-Museum Eichstätt in Germany, who led the research published in the journal Current Biology.

“It is like finding a sheep with a snarl like a wolf,” Kölbl-Ebert added.

The fossil came from the same Bavarian limestone deposits as Archaeopteryx, the earliest-known bird.

“From the same quarry, we also have a number of other fish which may have been the victims of Piranhamesodon. They show injuries to their fins and fin bases, some freshly wounded before they died and got fossilized, whereas others show completely healed injuries with regeneration of the fin,” Kölbl-Ebert said.

Fossil Fish
With Piranha-Like Teeth, This Prehistoric Predator Never Bit Off More Than It Could Chew.

While it shares traits with piranhas, Piranhamesodon was neither their long-ago ancestor nor related to them at all. The oldest-known piranhas lived around 15 million years ago.

Piranhamesodon is an example of a phenomenon called convergent evolution in which organisms independently acquire similar characteristics as a result of adapting to similar ecological niches or environments.

Also Read: Fossils of 400 Year Old Invertebrate Marine Species Found in China

“The new fish is a most interesting example of convergent evolution, evolving — for bony fish then — a completely new way of life,” Kölbl-Ebert said. (VOA)