Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

So I went for a walk on the 3rd and upset some people just for doing so, on the way back just before I got to the entrance/exit of the site where I reside a person on a mobility scooter said ‘6 fingered runt’ as they went past, smiling at me. I didn’t know what to make of that and wasn’t really too bothered, I hadn’t received that much harassment on the walk, only once I got to the highstreet.

A few moments later a couple of boys on bicycles went past and said ‘Japanese prostitute’ well that’s obvious (the real meaning of ‘prostitute’ and Japanese has to do with World War connotations). But I thought it interesting how a ‘disabled’ person would call someone else something about disfigurement (and quite frankly I’ve always gotten on with people regardless of physical/mental characteristics, though it’s true I’ve been hankered for by particularly tall ‘people’).

Shortly after Sott posted this: https://www.sott.net/article/324181-The-mystery-of-the-6-toed-and-6-fingered-people-of-Chaco-Canyon

Natalia Klimzcak
Ancient Origins
Wed, 03 Aug 2016 17:07 UTC

Though the author originally posted it a week earlier here:

The Mysterious Extra Fingers and Toes of the Pueblo People of Chaco Canyon

http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/mysterious-extra-fingers-and-toes-pueblo-people-chaco-canyon-006350?nopaging=1

27 July, 2016 – 14:50 Natalia Klimczak

6-fingered-toed-article-1

Ancient people of the Pueblo culture of Chaco Canyon, in what is now New Mexico, decorated their houses with six-digit handprints and footprints. Although it is not really known why these images were depicted in homes, researchers suggest that having an extra finger or toe made the person more important and respected in this society.

According to National Geographic, researchers were aware of the examples of polydactyly (‘many fingers’) among the Pueblo culture for many years. Several skeletal remains showing extremities with extra toes and fingers have also been found. One of the discovered remains had an ornate anklet around its six-toed foot but carried no such offering on its five-toed foot.

The team of researchers, led by anthropologist Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico conducted the project, initially intrigued by the evidence that divine powers were attributed to polydactyls among the pre-Columbian tribes, such as the Maya.

However, according to the report, the Puebla culture did not view six-toed individuals as supernatural like the Maya, but this form of polydactyly did grant people exalted status in life and in death. The researchers maintain that people with six toes were usually associated with important ritual structures and were buried with high-status objects like turquoise.

The researchers also sought to determine how common polydactyly was among the Puebla people. They analyzed 96 skeletons excavated from the Pueblo Bonito site, the largest great house in Chaco Canyon. In this group of remains, they identified three individuals with a sixth toe on the right foot, which equates to 3.1% of the sample.

Pueblo Bonito, the largest great house in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. (public domain)

Pueblo Bonito, the largest great house in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. (public domain)

The researchers identified several handprints and footprints plastered into the walls and floors throughout the great houses. Moreover, an abundance of sandals, sandal-shaped stones, and images of sandals, which all include evidence of a feature to accommodate an extra toe, have been found. The 6-toed footprints and 6-fingered handprints were clearly honored elements in the society and could have held a ritual meaning.

“What is important about this study is the strong case the authors make for significance and meaning. Using biology, art, architecture, and spatial distribution … they have built a substantial body of evidence where we only had some intriguing hints before.” Kelley Hays-Gilpin, an anthropologist at Northern Arizona University concluded.

6-toed footprints behind Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, NM. Photo: 1994, Peter Faris.

6-toed footprints behind Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, NM. Photo: 1994, Peter Faris.

The researchers still don’t understand why the rate of polydactyly was higher among the Chacos than other tribes. It is also unclear whether the rate of polydactyly found in the skeletal remains from Pueblo Bonito is fully representative of the living population at the time. Therefore, the research will be continued.

The prehistoric Pueblo culture dominated the high desert of the Chaco Canyon circa 1,000 years ago. The Puebla people are still very mysterious. As April Holloway from Ancient Origins wrote:

”For over 2,000 years, ancient Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major center of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250 AD, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area. The Puebloans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that are thought to have been the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. The massive multi-storied buildings oriented to solar, lunar, and cardinal directions, the high level of community social organization, and its far-reaching commerce, created a cultural vision unlike any other seen before or since in the country. However, all of this suddenly collapsed in the 13th century when the centers were mysteriously abandoned and were never revived.

Chetro Ketl, an Ancestral Puebloan great house and archeological site located in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico (public domain)

Chetro Ketl, an Ancestral Puebloan great house and archeological site located in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico (public domain)

The long-held theory is that the downfall of the Chaco Canyon culture occurred because of the poor land-use and deforestation that took place to build the cities. It is popularly cited by environmentalists and others as an example and warning of how human society employs unsustainable land-use practices. However, new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has drawn this perspective into question.

According to a report published in Popular Archaeology, the study conducted by scientists from the Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, shows that there is no substantial evidence to support the claim that the ancient Puebloan peoples, who constructed highly advanced towns and cities, simply overused their resources.”

The results of the latest research were published in the journal American Antiquity.

Top image: A petroglyph of a six-fingered hand. Red Tank Draw, AZ (Hand)

Initially I would have thought on similar lines to the comments on the original site but given people love innuendo, signs, symbols and generally being lying, deceptive, omitting, hiding, covert b*stards the comments on Sott intrigued me since they imply things people could be inferring. Those are things I hadn’t really thought of (though I was aware of failed experiments/breeding) and it makes me wonder why I haven’t come across the Pueblo people before (not that I can know everything but it seems they are a mystery in general). Then again some people want to associate me with indigenous America, bit like calling them ‘Indians’ generically I guess. Although at the same time people love to gossip, make things up, make false trails and generally lead you on/distract and I’m not going to be an ‘eager beaver’.

Linked from the article above:

Extra Fingers and Toes Were Revered in Ancient Culture

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/chaco-canyon-pueblo-bonito-social-implications-polydactyly-extra-toes/

The Pueblo people of Chaco Canyon decorated their great houses with six-digit footprints and sandal-shaped art.

By Aaron Sidder

PUBLISHED July 25, 2016

01sixtoedfeet.adapt.590.1

Pueblo Bonito, as seen from the rim of Chaco Canyon, in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico – Photograph by Scott S. Warren, National Geographic Creative

In the great houses of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, having an extra toe was one way to garner a lot of respect.

A unique prehistoric Pueblo culture thrived in the high desert of Chaco Canyon about a thousand years ago. Scientists have known about polydactyly among these people for years, based on images and skeletal remains showing extremities with extra fingers and toes. But past research revealed only hints about its importance to the ancient culture.

Initially intrigued by the divine powers attributed to polydactyls among the Maya, researchers led by anthropologist Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico conducted a comprehensive review of evidence for the condition at the canyon’s sacred Pueblo Bonito site.

The findings, published today in American Antiquity, indicate that the society did not view six-toed individuals as supernatural, but this form of polydactyly did grant them exalted status in life and in death.

“We found that people with six toes, especially, were common and seemed to be associated with important ritual structures and high-status objects like turquoise,” says Crown, who is also a past National Geographic grantee.

On the Right Foot

To determine how common polydactyly was among the Chacos, the researchers conducted an analysis of 96 skeletons excavated from Pueblo Bonito during prior expeditions. The team analyzed full skeletons that were painstakingly reassembled over many years by co-author Kerriann Marden, a biological anthropologist at Eastern New Mexico University.

The anthropologists found three polydactyl individuals among the 96 skeletons, all with a sixth toe on the little toe-side of the right foot.

That may not sound like a lot, but at 3.1 percent of the Chaco population, it represents a much higher rate of polydactyly than what’s seen in modern Native Americans: Today only 0.2 percent of them are affected. More broadly, in the United States just 0.13 percent of Caucasians and 1.4 percent of African Americans are reported to have extra digits, though scientists suspect many cases may go unreported.

This six-toed footprint was found in the south wall plaster of a room in Pueblo Bonito. The plaster is discolored from a fire. - Photograph by Patricia L. Crown

This six-toed footprint was found in the south wall plaster of a room in Pueblo Bonito. The plaster is discolored from a fire. – Photograph by Patricia L. Crown

Dwellings in Chaco Canyon are also adorned with relics and imagery of feet—many of which have extra toes.

Excavations at the site have revealed several footprints and handprints plastered into the walls and floors throughout the great houses, and a number of these prints contain extra digits.

Polydactyl prints were intermingled with five-digit prints but were more frequently included at entrances to kivas (ritual rooms) and on walls adjacent to significant ceremonial structures. The location of the prints indicates that the extra fingers and toes were an honored element of the society.

The researchers also found an abundance of sandals, sandal-shaped stones, and images of sandals, which all include evidence of a jog feature to accommodate an extra toe.

And while burial treatments differed among the six-toed individuals, all of them were interred respectfully either in or adjacent to burial and ritual rooms. One of the skeletons had an ornate anklet around its six-toed foot but carried no such offering on its five-toed foot.

All told, the pedal art and ornaments suggest that polydactyly was a respected and familiar physical trait, and not merely an artistic or mythical representation.

“What is important about this study is the strong case the authors make for significance and meaning,” writes Kelley Hays-Gilpin, an anthropologist at Northern Arizona University who was not on the study team but reviewed the work for publication.

“Using biology, art, architecture, and spatial distribution … they have built a substantial body of evidence where we only had some intriguing hints before.”

Toe to Toe

The authors of the study do not understand why the rate of polydactyly was higher among the Chacos, but they hypothesize that its well-regarded presence could have made it more common.

Past research indicates that if a heritable trait does not negatively affect the individual, it is often retained in the population. Other minor developmental anomalies, like short fingers and toes, are often passed from generation to generation. And if a trait is valued in the community, as it seems was the case for polydactyly among the Chaco people, it is more likely to increase in frequency through the years.

A mold of the six-toed footprint found in the plaster wall. - Photograph by Patricia L. Crown

A mold of the six-toed footprint found in the plaster wall. – Photograph by Patricia L. Crown

However, Crown cautions that the rate of polydactyly in Pueblo Bonito may not have been fully representative of the living population at the time, and may just reflect preferential burials and artistic representation.

Marden offers another hypothesis, speculating that the frequency of extra digits in the population may indicate there was an environmental trigger in Chaco Canyon. Possible triggers could include exposure to hazardous substances during pregnancy, or specific components of a mother’s diet while pregnant.

Whatever the reason, the new research does make clear that additional digits were exalted at the time.

“This was an important part of the past,” says Crown. “People [with extra digits] were treated as special, and they were treated with a lot of respect.”

And no – I didn’t and don’t have 6 digits anywhere.

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