The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world covering over five million square miles of territory across nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Scientists estimate that it contains over two and one-half million species of insects and more than forty thousand types of trees and plants. It has about 1,500 different kinds of birds and over two thousands types of fish, including flesh-eating piranha.
In addition to the flora and fauna, the Amazon contains tribes of native people that live in areas so remote that they have never seen any other people except members of their tribe. Some of these native people are cannibals who will kill and eat any foolish explorer that comes too close to their homeland.
Only tiny amounts of sunlight are able to get through the thick forest canopy. Down at the ground level, in lush jungle areas, it is so dark that a person needs a flashlight to be able to see anything, even during the daytime. Many animals, like wild monkeys and snakes, climb the trees to get to the sunlight in order to warm up and then come back down to the ground level when hunting for food.
The Amazon rainforest is a remarkable place. Here are 15 extraordinary things that we found there.
15. Native Tribes
There are dozens of tribes made up of small groups of humans that live in the remote parts of the Amazonian jungle. Some of them are friendly and curious about explorers who venture into the areas of the jungle where they live. The friendly ones will trade items that they have such as animal skins, hand-made bows and arrows, for things the explorers have that they find useful like machetes and metal pots for cooking.
Other tribes are extremely violent and dangerous. Many explorers have disappeared on expeditions never to be heard from again. Nobody knows what happened to them.
Unfortunately for explorers who venture into parts of the Amazonian jungle that are full of dangerous natives, they will not even know they are being watched until they are attacked. These natives are excellent hunters that are used to moving silently and unseen through their native lands.
In 2009, CNN reported that members of the Kulina tribe near the village of Envira in Brazil lured a young man to the jungle, killed him, butchered him, and ate him. The victim was 19-year-old Ocelio Alves de Carvalho. The jungle area where this occurred is in the western part of Brazil on the border of Peru.
The Kulina tribe has occasional encounters with the people from the village of Envira when they want to trade for things they need. They come into the village for a short time and then go back to the jungle. Police learned about the murder because the tribesmen were bragging to other village residents about eating the young man’s organs.
The young man’s family went into the jungle to the area where the Kulina tribe lives. They were horrified to see the quartered body of their relative and his skull hanging from a tree. Brazilian law does not allow the police to enter the native lands, so no arrests were possible.
13. Natives Capture Illegal Loggers
Vast areas of the Amazonian forest have been decimated by clear-cutting and burning the jungle to create land for farming. However, some parts of the land are protected for the native people. These tribal lands have sovereignty, and the laws of the surrounding countries do not apply.
Some loggers enter these jungle areas to steal trees that they illegally cut down. They are in deep trouble if they are caught by the native people. The natives will torture them, and perhaps even kill them. In this photo, it shows a young man who was caught by the natives while he was illegally logging. He was stripped nearly bare and tied.
12. Jungle Balls
These stones are a true mystery. Hundreds of them have been found in the jungle. They date from prehistoric times. Archeologists cannot figure out why and how they were made. They are perfect spheres. Some of these stones are up to eight feet in diameter.
The stones were made from resources far away from where they have been found. This means that prehistoric humans, thought to only have the most primitive of tools, somehow made perfect spherical-shaped stones. They had to push them for many miles, up hills, across rivers, and through the thick jungle that is heavy with overgrowth.
Some believe these stones were made for some kind of religious purpose; however, there is no real evidence to support this. Their origins and purpose will continue to remain a mystery until someone finds something in the archaeological record to explain this mystery.
11. Fish Don’t Swim In The Boiling River
In the center the Amazonian jungles of Peru, there is a river with water that is so hot it kills anything that happens to fall into it. In places, the temperature of this river is over 200°F (93°C). Steam is constantly flowing up from the surface of the boiling water.
There is no knowledge of what caused this river to exist. Some believe that a mining company caused a rupture in the underground geothermal structure of the earth and this released hot gas from the depth of the earth into the river water.
The local people feel that the water has spiritual energy. Native Amazonians frequently gather at the river to sing songs and pray. Visitors are welcome to join the ceremonies. They just need to be very careful that they don’t fall in because they will end up becoming a nice, tasty, cannibal soup.
10. Tribal Warfare
In some parts of the Amazonian jungle, long-standing wars have been ongoing between rival tribes. They attack each other on a regular basis, rival men killing the other men, and capturing the young females to take back as slaves.
Missionaries who work with the tribes that are not on the offensive can, unfortunately, be caught in a surprise attack by a rival tribe. The attacks come without warning. The level of viciousness is unbelievable. Even though the weapons are rudimentary, they are still deadly.
Because of the risk of attack, many of the tribes are nomadic. They have to constantly move to different parts of the jungle to stay away from their enemies. These warring factions limit the number of people in the tribal groups and it also prevents them from being prosperous.
9. Snakes Over 30 Feet Long
In 1922, a Catholic priest named Father Victor Heinz was on an expedition going down the Amazon River in a remote part of Brazil in the Pará area. He reported seeing a snake that had a diameter as big as an oil drum. It was over 75 feet long.
Seven years later, when the priest was in the same area, he saw the snake again. The second time it was swimming in the water. He saw it at dusk as the sun was going down. It had eyes so big that at first the glint from the eyes of the snake was mistaken for running lights on another boat.
8. Amazonians Who Never Saw Other People
Many native tribal people live in areas where they have almost zero contact with the rest of the world. Their life is based on a connection with nature that those in more modern parts of the world will probably never understand.
The Amazon is a rich area that is also the “lungs” of the Earth. All the trees and vegetation produce oxygen and clean the air of carbon dioxide that is the source of climate change. This is one of the mayor reasons we need to save the Amazon rainforest.
Many beneficial medicines have been discovered from plant and tree sources. For example, aspirin, which is the world’s most common pain-killer, is made from a chemical that is derived from tree bark. There are potentially thousands of useful medicines still remaining to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest. Only about 1% of the species of plants and trees have been properly catalogued and evaluated. Only a small proportion have been tested for useful medicinal properties. The Amazon is truly one of the world’s treasures that we all should cherish. Just watch out for the cannibals!
7. Carved Ancient Stone Head
This carved head was discovered in the 1950s in a part of the Amazon that is famous for having a large, carved, stone heads in the jungle. However, this one was unique because it has facial characteristics that are unlike the indigenous people.
An archaeologist named Hector E. Majia noted in the documentary film Revelations of the Mayans: 2012 and Beyond that the features of the head do not represent any pre-Hispanic culture that existed during the time that the stone head was carved. Instead, the features are more like a Caucasian man, which is surprising because there would not have been any contact possible between the indigenous people and white people.
Some believe that the white man represented in this carving was actually an extraterrestrial visitor who helped the native people with the technology needed to quarry the rock, carve the head, and move it to a place far away from the quarry into the jungle. It is interesting that the gaze of the head is pointed skyward. Anti-government rebels have since destroyed this head; however, there may be others that can still be found and perhaps even the tribe whose ancestors carved it.
6. Decoy Spider
There is an amazing tiny spider in the Amazonian jungle that has yet to be given a name. It has a unique defensive capability in that it can build a decoy spider that is much larger than itself. It places the decoy in its web as a way to frighten off any potential predators.
To create a spider decoy sculpture that is very realistic, this spider uses parts of its web, debris that it drags into place, pieces of insect prey, and part of its own exoskeleton after it molts. This decoy is very intimidating to other jungle insect species. The decoy spider is intertwined within the web so that the tiny spider can actually make it move by pushing and pulling the web from a safe distance away.
5. Basketball-Sized Real Spiders
If you were not intimidated by the decoy spider, how about one that is real and the size of a basketball? There are tarantulas in the Amazon jungle of Venezuela that are huge. One area that claims to have the largest ones is near the Orinoco River on the border between Venezuela and Columbia.
Locals from this area claim to have seen spiders that are as big as a person when they rear up. There are stories about dogs being captured by these spiders and are taken back into the jungle to be eaten. Another story says a baby was carried away by a gigantic spider.
During 2008, the television show Monster Quest went to this area to see if they could find these gigantic spiders. They took along an expert in tarantulas named Rick C. West. The expedition into the Amazon jungle was led by a local guide named Juan Carlos Ramirez. They did find a large spider’s lair with these basketball-sized spiders; however, they were not able to find a spider as big as a man.
Another expedition occurred during 2011, for the television show Man vs. Monster. Richard Terry, who is a filmmaker from Britain, produced the show. His team could not find any giant spiders that are the size of a man either. However, just because they did not find one, does not mean that they don’t exist.
4. Tall, White Amazonian Natives
Additional evidence that white people made contact with the indigenous Amazonian tribes are the photographs of a tribe of tall, white, Amazonian people. The leader of the white tribe is over seven feet tall and the women are also quite tall. They live at the head of the Amazon River and are known to be cannibals.
The tribe was first discovered during the 16th century by the Spanish explorer, Gaspar de Carvajal. In 1542, he wrote about his encounter with the tribe and described them as being very tall, white-skinned, with blue eyes, and blonde hair. They were European-looking natives found in an extremely remote part of the Amazonian jungle.
The Maricoxi of South America resembles the Sasquatch that allegedly roams North America. The Maricoxi are giant, ape-like humanoids that can be up to 12 feet tall. They live like primitive humans. They hunt using bows and arrows and build small villages. The famous British explorer, Colonel Percival H. Fawcett, discovered them in 1914. He wrote about his experiences in the book entitled Lost Trails, Lost Cities.
The Colonel described them as being very hairy, speaking only in grunts, and acting very hostile towards his men as they got close to the village of the Maricoxi. The explorers were able to frighten them off by firing their pistols into the ground near their feet.
The Colonel went back to the area on a second expedition in 1925. He was seeking a lost city that was rumored to be in the jungles nearby. He disappeared along with his entire team. No one knows what happened to the explorers. Perhaps, they were killed by the Maricoxi.
This animal looks terrifying with its reddish-brown fur and sharp claws. When it stands up on its hind legs; it is over six feet tall. However, it is not a carnivore. It is a vegetarian. It likes to eat the inner parts of soft trees, which it tears open using its claws. It is usually seen in the Amazonian jungles of Bolivia and Brazil. It forages for food at night and avoids humans whenever possible. This is why sightings are very rare.
If encountered in the jungle, it will use a loud, screechy scream to try to frighten off any humans. It has a terrible stench, which is so bad that the native people say it causes disorientation. It avoids water and likes to follow along with the wild herds of peccaries, which are small, pig-like mammals.
Hunters have seen one when they were tracking the peccaries. One sighting was made by a hunter named Mário Pereira de Souza in 1975 near the banks of the Jamauchim River. He claimed the stench made him feel ill for many days after the encounter.
Another sighting was made by a man named Manuel Vitorino Pinheiro dos Santos in the late 1990s. He first noticed the stench and then heard a screeching cry from the nearby jungle. He ran to the river to escape the animal. He watched it pass by him and continue down the river bank. He described it as looking like a furry bear wearing armor plates, with an ape-like face and huge claws, similar to those of an armadillo.
1. The City Of Giants
In 2012, this lost city was discovered in the Amazonian jungles of Ecuador. The center point of the city is a massive pyramid that is 260 feet wide by 260 feet tall. It was given the name “City of Giants” because everything was on such a massive scale. Not only were the buildings massive in size, the explorers discovered hand tools that were gigantic. The tools were so large that it would be impossible for a regular-sized person to use them. Moreover, the stones used to build the city were enormous and the rock quarry where they were brought from was a long distance away.
The researchers who studied the site concluded that the people who built this city could have been between 12 and 16 feet tall. They also had some special kind of technology that allowed them to bring massive stones from far away and cut them to fit together with laser-like precision. Just like the enigma of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, archaeologists say that there was no known technology able to achieve this at the time when this city was built.
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