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AO Magazine September 2021
AO Magazine September 2021

From our earliest days we have been cohabiting the planet with animals. They’ve been regarded as pets and pests, considered sacred, been sacrificed, and used for resources and labor. Animals have been integral to every aspect of our lives – we encounter them in the wild, public arenas, our homes, and of course, our art. They’ve been hunted, herded, sheltered, and loved.

In this issue we explore our complex cohabitation with animals around the world and since prehistoric times. Archaeozoologist Dr. Annie Antonites reveals how faunal remains at archaeological sites provide unique insight into the relationship between ancient people and animals. In some cases, such as the extinct dodo, we have to turn to the remains to discover the truth – it was not the dumb bird some fairy tales would suggest!

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The Secret Substance Soma

The Secret Substance Soma

Soma is both the name of a god and a substance in Hindu mythology. As a deity, Soma is one of the most important gods in the Rigveda.

The Medical Alchemist by Franz Christoph Janneck, 18th century (Public Domain)
Artifacts & Tech

What Could Your Urine Tell a Medieval Doctor?

In modern medicine, urine samples are routinely examined in laboratories to obtain clinical information about a patient. This procedure, known as urinalysis, developed from an ancient medical process called uroscopy. Urology was greatly aided during this period by the development of the urine wheel. 
Detail from the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary. (Public Domain)
Culture & Tradition

Medieval Monsters Taught Morals in a Book of Beasts

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood – in bestiaries, that is.

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