The Amazing Mysteries of the Amazon

The Amazing Mysteries of the Amazon

Depending on who is looking, the mysterious
jungles of the Amazon inspire many different urges. The wise fear and respect the incredibly diverse
biosphere. The curious enter its jungles with a sense
of wonder and harbor hopes of discovery, while the greedy view the green tangle of dense
forest as something to be destroyed and converted into a different kind of green. Sometimes called the lungs of the world, the
Amazon basin lies mostly in the South American country of Brazil (although the rainforest
spans multiple nations including Peru, Colombia and minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia,
Guyana, Suriname, and the French territory of French Guiana). The Amazon basin itself is huge — almost
2.9 million square miles — or about 35% of South America. Even with the horrible exploitation of slash
and burn farming practices, most of its unexplored rainforests are very difficult to penetrate. Under its deep and thick canopy lie many mysteries… 10. The explorer Francisco de Orellana After Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incan
Empire, his half brother Gonzalo Pizarro (who took part in the Incan destruction) arrived
in Peru as the ruler of the city of Quito. The local people spoke of a great Kingdom
East of the Andes called the Land of Cinnamon, or the famous golden city of El Dorado. In 1541 Pizarro choose one of his trusted
underlings, Francisco de Orellana, to accompany him on his quest to find the Kingdoms. From the beginning, things did not go well
with the exploration crusade. Thousands of expedition members died or simply
disappeared into the wilderness. After crossing the towering mountain peaks
of the Andes only a few dozen remained. Pizarro decided to return to Quito and ordered
Orellana to try and find more kingdoms to conquer and to also follow the rivers to the
Atlantic. With about 50 men, Orellana built some riverboats
and set off down the Amazon. Along the way he recorded encountering multiple
riverside cities that they determined were ruled by an Inland Empire. When Orellana interrogated these people about
the location of the cities of gold the locals didn’t know what he was talking about. Thinking they were lying, the European conquistadors
resorted to torture, eventually turning most of the peoples they came into contact with
against them. On June 24, 1542, they came across another
group of riverside dwellers. Warned of Orellana’s hostile actions by
natives farther upstream, they attacked the Orellana party. While fighting off the brave combatants, the
conquistadors were stunned to be fighting women warriors. This would later remind Europeans of the famous
Amazon fighters of Greek legend — thus giving the river its name. On August 26, 1542, the men reached the Pacific,
becoming the first Europeans to travel down the Amazon. Returning to Spain, Orellana spoke of his
travels and the great urban areas he encountered along the river. Yet years later when the Spanish were able
to finally get back to the Amazon they found nothing but thick jungle. What happened to all the people he saw? 9. The Amazon jungle was once home to millions When later expeditions tried to find the civilization
that Orellana spoke about all they could find along the Amazon river was jungle. Orellana had died soon after his voyage and
could not offer any insight or defense for what people now claimed was, at best, an exaggeration,
and at worst a lie in hopes of scamming the Spanish crown out of money for a new expedition. For centuries this was the conventional wisdom
of the academic world: that the Amazon jungle was sparsely populated with a smattering of
now-famous uncontacted native tribes. New research is smashing these assumptions,
aided by emerging technology like satellite imagery and LIDAR (a laser imaging system
that can harmlessly see through forest canopies). Analyzing this data has revealed that during
1200 and 1500 A.D. a huge civilization of millions lived along the Amazon River system. It is thought that this civilization was ruined
by its success as a complex trading network, as newly introduced European diseases spread
to every corner of the Empire. People became infected without ever seeing
or coming into contact with a sick European. With most of its people dead and its society
destroyed, the jungle grew over the abandoned urban settlements within a few years. When European explorers returned years later
all they saw was a thick, impenetrable jungle. 8. Black soil One of the biggest arguments against a large
Amazon civilization was the basin’s famously poor soil quality — soil so bad that it
could never have supported a civilization with such a large population. Even today, after the jungle is mowed down
and its trees burned up, farmers can only grow a limited yield of crops before the soil
becomes exhausted and they have to move on and continue the destructive slash and burn
farming cycle. This argument was finally overturned with
the discovery of terra preta. Scientists would find patches of rich, dark
soil that they termed terra preta. Crops grown in this soil grew exponentially
more than crops grown in normal Amazon soil. At first, it was thought to be naturally occurring
but then researchers were able to determine that the soil was made by craftsmen of the
ancient Amazon civilization through a process scientists are only now beginning to understand. 7. Boiling river Deep in the Peruvian jungle lies a mysterious
boiling river. For decades it was thought to be a myth; it
was only when Andrés Ruzo trekked deep into the forest to try and seek it out that it
was confirmed to exist. Traveling up river after river, he finally
found a river so hot that if anything falls in it is boiled alive. Its non-volcanic origins are a mystery. The river starts off cool and passes through
a hot spring before eventually cooling off again. With no known local volcanic activity, researchers
are unsure of the boiling river’s origins. Some suspect that it was actually accidentally
created by unscrupulous prospectors that comb the jungles looking for oil or mineral deposits
with little care of the environmental consequences of their Wild Wild West drilling techniques. Similar drilling practices caused an ecological
disaster in Indonesia: the Sidoarjo mudflow. There, an oil drilling rig unleashed a mud
volcano that, for about a decade, has buried multiple villages in as much as 130 feet mud,
forced 60,000 people from their homes, and still spurts out mud to this day. 6. Man-made structures are everywhere in the
Amazon For decades, impoverished farmers have been
plundering the incredibly diverse biosphere of the Amazon. The scale of deforestation is mind-boggling. As of 2019 scientists estimate that almost
20 percent of the original Amazon has been slashed and burned. While this ransacking of the rainforest’s
unique ecosystem is unforgivable, there have been some startling discoveries among the
burnt stumps and charred endangered species. As the forest retreats from the fires, hundreds
of fortified urban areas, as well as mounds of circles, squares, and other geometric shapes,
have been revealed. Researchers estimate that hundreds and possibly
thousands of more structures are still hidden by the existing jungles. This has been partially confirmed by limited
LIDAR scans. These shapes hint at a complex lost civilization. To create such structures would have required
astrologers, as they are aligned to the stars, and artisans with complex math knowledge as
shown by structures that are difficult to create, like squares in circles. There would also have to be a society that
was big enough to support these specialized roles. Only a fraction of the remaining jungle has
been revealed by LIDAR scans. As more of the jungle is scanned, more of
the lost civilization will be revealed. 5. Amazon nutrients come from Africa Amazon soil is notoriously poor in nutrients,
the most important of which is phosphorus. What phosphorus the Amazon does have slowly
leaks away in the massive Amazon River complex. What is even more amazing is that the nutrients
it does have do not come from local sources — not even from the landmass of South America. It is replenished through dust from across
the ocean. Hundreds of million tons of wind-borne, phosphorus-rich
dust flows from Africa across the Atlantic ocean and drops onto the Amazon, providing
valuable nutrients. Over half of the dust fertilizing the Amazon
rainforest comes from the Bodélé depression in Northern Chad in the Sahara desert. Winds stir up the dust, where it rises into
the upper atmosphere and is carried to South America and the prevailing winds. 4. Something is mysteriously making little silk
towers Deep in the Peruvian Amazon jungles, scientists
like spider hunter Phil Torres were mystified by the incredibly intricate silk structures
found throughout its trees. If they were human-sized they wouldn’t look
out of place as a city plaza or art sculpture. Dubbed “Silkhenge,” these symmetrical
“buildings” harken back to the architecture of the ancients. The tiny silk constructions have two parts:
a tall, central tower, and a circular fence that’s about 6 millimeters across. After months of investigation, researchers
were finally able to determine their purpose when a baby spider emerged from the tower. This shocked the researchers, as a spider
species that lays just one or two spider eggs is incredibly rare. Even with all their research, spider experts
are still unsure of which species make the Silkhenge complexes. 3. Man is causing droughts in the Amazon One of the greatest fears of climate scientists
is Earth’s carbon release feedback loops. One of the more famous examples is the Arctic
permafrost. As climate change increases, the worldwide
temperatures rise. Nowhere is this more dangerous than the Arctic. There, rising temperatures are melting the
permafrost. This in turn is releasing methane and other
greenhouse gases that the permafrost had kept trapped under its frozen mass. This released gas is further raising the temperature,
melting more permafrost and releasing more greenhouse gases — a feedback loop. The Amazon jungles are a great carbon sink. When it rains, the jungles grow, and tons
after tons of carbon are locked away into Amazon’s vegetation. So much of the Amazon is being deforested
that it is causing droughts — droughts so rare that they were thought to be once in
hundred-year events. Now they are happening more frequently as
fewer trees mean less rain. Episodes of drought in 2005, 2010 and 2015
are alarming scientists as during droughts carbon is actually released from the Amazon
as tree growth is stunted and trees die from thirst. From 2005 and through 2008 the Amazon basin
lost an average of 0.27 petagrams of carbon (270 million metric tons) per year. This causes a feedback loop. More deforestation causes less rainfall and
droughts. As the more droughts happen, more of the forest
dies, causing more droughts — a climate change feedback loop. 2. There’s a plastic eating fungus in the Amazon One of the greatest innovations of the modern
age has been the invention of plastics. It has also been one of our greatest curses. Plastic litters the landscape, causing huge
problems — problems so bad that cities and even countries have banned things like plastic
bags. In the oceans, discarded plastic has created
huge garbage patches that are bigger than Texas. Oceans are littered with so much plastic that
it is being mistaken as food by fish and animals. Dead birds and even whales are washing up
on shores with stomachs full of plastic debris. The problem with plastic is also its best
feature: it is so durable. An answer to this problem might have been
found in the Amazon. Pestalotiopsis microspora is a fungus that
may be our way out of our plastic waste crisis. Discovered in the Amazon, scientists have
tweaked the fungi into Fungi Mutarium, which turns plastic into food. At present, the process is too slow to be
an effective way to deal with the plastic crisis. Hopefully, in the future, a new industry based
on this fungus will be created that will be able to deal with the mountains of plastic
waste our world creates every… single… day. 1. Amazon forest is an overgrown garden The lost Amazon civilization is slowly emerging
from oblivion. Stories like that told by Spanish explorer
Francisco de Orellana are being looked at in a new light. Structures emerging from the ravaged jungles
are showing us physical proof of its existence. Their advanced technology, as shown by the
mysterious black soil, is now only beginning to be understood. However, one of the biggest vestiges left
by their society has been hidden in plain sight. Studies of the plant species of the Amazon
have revealed startling results. While surveying the tree species of the Amazon,
scientists discovered a large percentage (too high to be by chance) are domesticated flora
like the Brazil nut, the Amazon tree grape, and the ice cream bean tree. The results show that the lost Amazon civilization
was advanced in silviculture — or the science of identifying, domesticating, growing, and
cultivating trees. Not just any trees, but trees that provide
enough food to support millions of people. The Amazon isn’t a random collection of
trees, as would be expected if it was untouched wilderness. No, the Amazon jungles are really just a giant
collection of overgrown, man-made orchards.

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100 thoughts on “The Amazing Mysteries of the Amazon

  1. I recommend everyone go watch the Joe Rogan podcast featuring Graham Hancock, lots of great conversation there of the lost worlds in the amazon

  2. This man is going to have my babies. He's going to lay our eggs in a tiny little tent in the Amazon, surrounded by a silk henge.

    It will be magical.

  3. An episode detailing how to reach the Pacific by following the Amazon downstream (mentioned at apx. 2:38 into this episode) would be extremely interesting.

  4. So the guy sitting in a studio created by wood on furniture likely to have wood in it who probably has real wood cabinets, flooring, furniture and may even BURN wood in a fireplace…
    Thinks the company that goes out and gets all that wood is evil.
    Oh lefties, you are oh so mysterious to us uneducated folk.
    Ok, now I can enjoy the content in peace.

  5. You don't need to tell me anything. Just from the looks of that thing in the thumbnail, I'm staying away as far as possible. Thanks, evolution 🤷‍♂️

  6. I was pretty sure the boiling river was known to the natives around the area for years before any Europeans came looking. Is that not true? Because if it is, I doubt anyone was looking for oil a the point of its creation.

  7. It is surly dishonest to quote a figure for how much rain forest has been 'destroyed' without telling the truth about how quickly it grows back and how much has already grown back?

  8. This can be a companion piece to one you did on ancient civilizations that always get mistaken for Alien Technologies. Our ancient ancestors were a whole lot smarter then we'd like to give them credit for because it makes us feel smarter.

  9. One day we will plastic eating fungus on an individual scale and they will get loose and eat all the plastic in the world. even things we don't want to.

  10. 4:13 Black Soil, terrapreta. Probably the best hope for reversing human induced climate change. You can also call it biochar.

    Humanity made charcoal for centuries at the start of the iron age. Simply heat carbon-rich materials in an oxygen depleted vessel that cooks off everything but carbon, results in charcoal. Then that charcoal needs to be activated, a simple hot steam bath. The activated charcoal then needs to be mixed with nitrogen-rich material, sewage does nicely. The resulting biochar is then added to soil which makes fertilizer redundant.

    Any carbon rich feedstock will do. Wood, paper, plastic.

  11. wait, they have video footage of the spiders hatching. Meaning they have the physica spider in front of them. But they don't know what species makes the nest? confused.

  12. What a timing. I've re-watched the Joe Rogan podcast with Graham Hancock yesterday where he explains exactly this story. How a city with as many people as in London at the time lived there and died because of a desease brought by Francisco de Orellana

  13. The only thing I know about the Amazon is what it looks like when I play hearts of iron 3 which is just green not even a tree green

  14. It's truly interesting. Since they made the Amazon rainforest, don't you think they'd know where things are and where they should and shouldn't go? I believe that's why they were able to thrive into the millions. I would also like to think that when the Sahara desert was green way back, that was the place where the garden of Eden was. But since they were banished they had to leave and ended up in South America. Then Eve was upset that she ate the "apple" that she wanted atonement for what she did, she rebuild the garden in South America.

  15. If they could only put mushroom spores in the plastic so when they get discarded it will just start growing 🤔

  16. Awesome presentation… Traveled and stayed there for a few weeks … The Amazon is a wonder of nature and there are so many mysteries and facts about it you could probably devout several YouTube videoes to it alone… BTW , Congrats Simon on entering the adventure of parenthood…

  17. “Man is a species with amnesia.”
    Graham Hancock

    Subscribe to his channel, along with Brien Forester (both are excellent beginner ambassadors to ancient civilizations), to discover that man’s history is much, much more complex than academia has been telling us. Millions lived in the Amazon, building sustainable communities with advanced agricultural technologies, from creating fertile soil to cultivating beneficial crops. People can be ridiculed their entire lives, & one LIDAR scan will upend our entire historical perspective. Be happy you are alive in an age when so many of man’s lost secrets are being revealed. Be aware that we have barely scratched the surface of learning our lost history. There are great civilizations that we haven’t even identified yet. Some are lost in jungles, some lost beneath the sand, & some lay beneath the oceans, from when the Ice Age ended.

  18. Ever since the discovery of the amazon rain forest by the europeans, approximately 15 percent of the rain forest was removed through Deforestation over the last 200+ years.

    The rain forest is so massive that 85% still remains intact.

  19. You managed to get a quite "a" reaction or behaviour out of me, for about three seconds to distant observers if they're looking.. poon poon poooooon!

  20. I spent time in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon jungle, it's an amazing experience nobody should be scared of. Except Republicans; they're scared of everything but white people.

  21. Annnnnnnd the inconvenient FACT about the "Slash and Burn Agriculture"; is a MAJORITY of it, is being carried out by INDIGENOUS peoples for self sustenance!

  22. Very interesting, but enough with the climate change non sense. The Earth has had hot and cold cycles for EVER and a single volcano can and have had more of an impact on the atmosphere than humans.

  23. I love that the Amazon is just an overgrown landscape of old crops and ancient civilisations… it’s my dream to visit here one day

  24. Cigarettes and alcohol are heavily taxed so why Don't they super tax plastics to discourage their use, that would at least pay for the collection and destruction of the débris and force corporations to invent or use alternatives.

  25. As the name suggests, fungi mutarium is very highly genetically engineered. And then what? We'll try to synthesis some toxin to kill this mutant fungi? What if they becomes mutant ninja turtles? Your lazy disrespectful parasitic way of life oh you modern man is killing the planet.

  26. If the Amazon used to accommodate MILLIONS of people, don't you think they cleared out about 20% of the rainforest??? I think they might have…….
    Co2 makes trees and plants grow, the more Co2, the more trees and plants. I'm so tired of the UN and other countries that have been brainwashed to think that we put out so much Co2, that we're killing the planet. We're killing the planet by using fertilizers and weed killers in agriculture fields. We are killing the planet by not recycling, and lazy people throwing shite out their car window, or overboard. This planet has been on cyclical climate change for hundreds of thousands of years. The sun and it's activity has a lot to do with climate change, and our poles are slowly but surely switching places; and that can have a lot to do with climate change too. Please do research, that isn't government funded, and see what many other scientists say about why climate change is happening. When has our governments lied to us???? Oh wait, all the time!!

  27. AMAZON eh?.. So that's where my Iphone comes from.
    They must have really fast boats.
    My airpods got here in two days.
    Too bad about those trees though.
    I blame IKEA.

  28. And every 20,000 years the Sahara Desert stops creating all this dust for the Amazon because it goes back to a rainforest also. Proven to be a global wobble and core samples from this same dust have proven every 20K years like clockwork, give or take, it changes from rain forest to desert, then 20k again back to rain forest. This affects the Amazon also. And we are over the halfway mark as we speak.

  29. The "lungs of the world" idea
    kinda collapsed when they found
    out it's basically a localized environ. Very little of the oxygen expelled leaves the local area.
    The real "lungs" are the oceans (or rather the algae in the ocean).
    So this hidden ancient civilization were guilty of slash and burn too?
    How did these great civilizations prosper having "destroyed" the forest?

  30. what if when we die everyone ever each individually judges is, and Simon Judged you
    Be The Person Mr Rogers thinks you Can be!

  31. So, that explorer brought disease to the region and everyone died. The forest grew back and plunged the world into a colder period as it sucked carbon out of the atmosphere. No mystery, just misery.

  32. It was always my impression that slash and burn farming was fairly sustainable and only done at a local level. A village clears out a small section of forest (enough to produce enough food for their family or village) and burns the undergrowth to clear it and fertilize the soil, harvests once or twice and then rotates to a new section to let the forest regenerate before cycling back? It was my understanding that if done right, this isn't very damaging to the local ecosystem, especially at the scale we're talking about?

  33. plastic is light and so is fungus spores. What we need to do is experience in space with this stuff. potentially that could be a cheap payload for use in space colonies to create something either edible or perhaps as part of a soil.

  34. The irony of man making the amazon hundreds of years ago only to now be destroyed by the ancestors of the people who probably created it.

  35. Given the ancient civilisations, it's no surprise that their crops are growing wild today, imagine if the majority of humanity popped its clogs today, in a thousand years there'd probably be just as much "wild" food croppage growing all over the place where farms once were… 🙂

  36. That's freakin' amazing, "Much of the Amazon isn't just a bunch of randomly growing plants in a forest, but a large collection of overgrown orchards designed by humans." I'm paraphrasing, but I think that's pretty close. Either way, woah! I'm 26 and out of work at the moment. I'm not a professional explorer, but this makes me want to learn how to be one. I did just start publishing on one of my YouTube channels though, just as a hobby and meybe to hopefully make a little extra revenue eventually to help pay for school while I go to learn massage therapy. I'm not sure if I can get it to where I want the channel to be within a year though. I can edit and write, but I have a stupid sounding voice IMO (I sound like the offspring of Barney The Dinosaur and Darth Vader, I think) and worse yet: I don't know a [email protected] thing about animating. I want my first channel to be an 'Infographrics' type vlog with animations covering whatever topic or subject I happen to be currently obsessed with. I spend literally all of my free time doing research on random information anyways, so I might as well pick out the interesting bits and get YouTube-Famous (or at least enjoy the delusion) while trying to share my perspective.
    I have the distinct advantage as a writer of having a pretty…interesting world view, as a person who occasionally suffers from symptoms of a "schizoeffective" disorder.
    I'm fine for the most part though lol, I'm not throwing a pity party or anything.
    I'd eventually like to use my other channel I've been keeping up with for a couple years now for a gaming channel, once I can finally get the cash together for the proper recording, playing and publishing equipment all at once. I may have to wait until I've been out of school and doing massage therapy for a while though to save enough for all that though. I'm not even able to figure out how to get my Patreon account running or all the requirements to manage the dang thing on top of everything else I'm trying to learn and do right now_-_;
    Edit: Oh wow, I almost forgot the whole point of my post.
    The last fact in the video REALLY makes me want to drop what I'm about to be starting college for (massage therapy) and learn how to be a paid explorer/archeologist/YouTuber instead of an unpaid info vlog/gamer/YouTuber.
    OR better yet, since I'm only 26, take the steps to accomplish each of these goals in an economically acheivable way over a realistic span of time probably 12 to 15 years and hopefully build a fan base over that period of time.
    Sounds like possible illusions of grandure for someone of my mental status though, so we'll see what the future holds.

  37. Alright first of all I love this channel but there is some historical problems here, first Pizarro never told Orellana to find "more kingdoms to conquer" In fact Orellana was sent as a scout down river to find supplies for the starving men. Second Pizarro became deeply angered with Orellana because of this as he saw it as cowardace that he was trying to save his own life and deserting. Third the reason that Orellana was unable to return is because the stream was too strong to return upstream. Fourth Orellana NEVER ATTACKED NOR TORTURED ANYONE, In fact were it not for the Cooperation between aboriginals and what was left of Orellanas party, Orellana WOULD HAVE NEVER SURVIVED, this is documented in his own journal. Fifth the tribes of the Amazon are DEEPLY HOSTILE TO EACH OTHER, thus when Orellana sailed down the river he came under attack by tribes who knew not who he was, simply as an uninvited person in their territories. Sixth much of the tales of "El Dorado" come not from the Andean Incas as the furthest most outpost of the Inca in the rainforest was Vilcabamba but from Orellana himself that upon seeing friendly villages of traders in the Amazon was in disbelief that their could be prosperous nations along the river, (how ever not to disprove that there was a possibility of a pan aboriginal alliance).

  38. It would be nice if we could just get rid of all the people in and around the rainforest. The tribes might not be too bad they normally are in harmony with the surroundings but just get rid of every human and help save the world by getting the forest back. Do the same in Africa and stop a lot of pollution and stuff from blowing over and stop a lot of suffering and senseless wars and violence and get rid of a bunch of rather ignorant people. Same in india, look at what they've done to the rivers!

  39. Maybe you'll enjoy my latest channel Business Blaze. It's business, but made fun and interesting:

  40. Living in Australia & considering the information provided certainly has area of interest in regards to the potential impacts of human activity 🤔 And 💩 Government policies that facilitate environmental erosion for the substitution of financial wealth 👎

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