Amazon News

Tiny Monkey, An Under River
& the 121-Year Young Woman

Pardon the cliché, but the Amazon never ceases to amaze us.
Be it because of the river that names the region, one of the world’s biggest basin systems. Or the variety of new species that turn out regularly, to speechless researchers.
The fact is, despite all threats to its survival, the Amazon and its indigenous peoples are very much alive and vibrant, including the world’s likely oldest person who still thrives, along with everything else around her.
No wonder Google is trying to get in the action there too, as it slowly maps the Rainforest for its StreetView (sic) service.
Let’s start by the river system, which irrigates a seven million square area and annually rises high enough to flood the forest.
But guess what? That’s, at the most, just half the story.
Brazilian scientists may have found another river likely to be as long as the Amazon but much wider.
There’s just one crucial detail: the Rio Hamza, named after the head of the team of researchers who found it, is four kilometers under the basin.
The discovery, which is to be confirmed within the next few years, was possible by collecting data from inside 241 abandoned wells drilled in the 1970s and 80s by state-run oil company Petrobras.
Researchers used then a mathematical model that measured temperature changes down the wells to predict the presence of the underground freshwater flow.
The discovery is one of the great, and unexpected, things that comes out of Petrobras’s failed attempt at finding oil in the Amazon.
The other thing, of course, is the fact that new species keep being discovered by researchers, albeit still as endangered as other natives known and unknown, flora or fauna, present in the area.

That’s the case of this previously unknown multicolored monkey species that an expedition just found in the north of Mato Grosso State, an area with the highest rate of deforestation in the Amazon.
The over 500 mile trek, led by biologist Júlio Dalponte, also documented the risks that illegal deforestation and unregulated cattle expansion represent to the rare mammals, fish and birds living in the region.
“Fresh fish, banana porridge, root vegetables, and grilled meat” and no salt, sugar or processed foods. That’s Maria Lucimar Pereira‘s diet, according to
Survival International, an indigenous rights organization, also claims that Maria is about to complete her 121st birthday, which would make her the world’s oldest person.
A member of the Kaxinawá tribe, this 1890’s baby speaks no other language but her own. Not even the Portuguese, the language of Brazil where she lives, which is just as well: the tribe’s isolation may have guaranteed its and her survival.
Maria, who remains healthy and still walks around sharing stories, seems to be heading to the history books.
Her 1985-issued birth certificate may be enough for her to beat Besse Cooper, an 115-year old Georgian, considered by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest human.
And more: according to Survival officials, the Kaxinawá has plenty of elderly people still kicking around. Take that, baby Besse.

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