South America

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Hipsters Are Healing Their Souls With 'Grandmother' Drug

Amazon's ayahuasca is said to offer therapeutic benefits—though not without a cost

(Newser) - A psychedelic concoction known as yage, or ayahuasca, has been brewed in indigenous communities in the Amazon region for centuries. But now it's found a relatively new audience: Americans immersed in what Ariel Levy, writing for the New Yorker , calls "the Age of Kale," who are tapping... More »

South America Can't Find Ex-Gitmo Detainee

Syrian native Abu Wa'el Dhiab, who had been resettled in Uruguay, goes missing

(Newser) - A South American airline is asking its employees to be on the lookout for a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was resettled in Uruguay after being freed by US authorities, the AP reports. The alert about Syrian native Abu Wa'el Dhiab adds to a growing mystery about his whereabouts.... More »

Bolivia to Bill Gates: Keep Your Stupid Chickens

Country offended by donation offer, says it's doing just fine on poultry front

(Newser) - Bill Gates recently offered to donate 100,000 hens to poor countries around the world, but one South American nation looked his gift chickens in the mouth and began squawking. "How can he think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how... More »

More Than Half of Amazon Tree Species Are Threatened

Study marks percentage of endangered trees for first time

(Newser) - More than half of the Amazon's 15,000 tree species may be facing extinction if governments can't curb deforestation, a new study says. Researchers reached this conclusion by comparing ground-level data on trees—about their leaves, branches, diameters, and so on—to projected deforestation across the vast South... More »

Earth Has Just 2 Giant Forests Left

The only 2 unfragmented forest habitats are the Amazon, Congo

(Newser) - To see the Earth's ecology forest for its trees, first we have to acknowledge there aren't many large, intact forests around. In fact, according to a new study published in Science Advances , there are only two such continuous forests left: in South America and Africa, Christian Science Monitor ... More »

Ancient Morticians Boiled the Dead

Quicklime stripped away flesh so bones could be preserved

(Newser) - Those who lived in what is now Bolivia more than 1,000 years ago likely wound up at the end of their days in what USA Today calls an "ancient mortuary." There, the morticians of their day dissected the bodies and boiled the various parts in pots of... More »

Newly Found Dinosaur Survived 'Horrific' Extinction

Tachiraptor fossils discovered in Venezuela

(Newser) - A newly discovered dinosaur in Venezuela may help us understand how species survived a mass-extinction event about 200 million years ago, reports. Based on two leg-bone fossils, paleontologists say Tachiraptor admirabilis was fairly small (5 or 6 feet, tip to tail), ran on two feet, and ate meat.... More »

Why the Amazon River Reversed Its Flow

It's linked to erosion and the Andes, researcher finds

(Newser) - The Amazon River flows eastward toward the Atlantic, but researchers know that wasn't always the case, notes the Latin Times . Long ago, the region's water moved in the opposite direction. Just what was it, though, that caused the reversal? Earlier findings linked the shift to the movement of... More »

6 Countries Seek Protection for Remarkable Road

Qhapaq Nan among 12 sites to be reviewed this week by World Heritage Committee

(Newser) - A 3,000-year-old road that runs from Colombia to Chile and winds through four other countries along the way is officially seeking protection. The South American countries (Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, and Bolivia are also among them) have banded together to ask that 435 miles of the Qhapaq Ñan or... More »

Mummy Mystery Solved: It Was Murder

Incan woman died from blunt force trauma 500 years ago

(Newser) - She's been known to German archaeologists for more than a century, but they only now know where a mysterious mummy came from—and how she died. The study in PLoS One explains that the mummified woman was brought to Bavaria in the 1900s. It's possible she was acquired... More »

Peru Reopening Its UFO Office

Calls on citizens to report sightings

(Newser) - Peru is experiencing "increased sightings of anomalous aerial phenomena," and it's ready to investigate. The country's air force is reopening the Department of Investigation of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, an office established in 2001 to probe such sightings. It had been closed for five years, the Guardian... More »

How Dust From the Sahara Ends up in S. America

A giant dust cloud currently headed across the Atlantic

(Newser) - Once or twice a week in late spring and summer, gusts of wind send dust from the Sahara Desert flying across the Atlantic Ocean, in what's known as the Saharan Air Layer. But a particularly concentrated dust cloud is currently midair, en route to land in Central and South... More »

More Americans Eating ... Guinea Pigs

They've long been popular food in some South American countries

(Newser) - New Mexico is thinking about processing horse meat . Montanans have roadkill . And now the latest in offbeat meat appears to be ... guinea pigs. NPR reports on an American trend fueled by South American expats and the US restaurants that serve such cuisine, and bolstered by foodies' penchant for trying—and... More »

6.7 Earthquake Rattles Chile

Buildings shudder, but no major damage reported

(Newser) - A powerful 6.7-magnitude earthquake shook Chile early today, shuddering buildings and sending panicked residents fleeing outdoors. There was an early report of a death by heart attack during the quake that struck 25 miles northeast of the eastern port city of Valparaiso. The temblor was felt for almost a... More »

Scientists Find Fossil of World's Largest Bear

Figure about 11 feet tall and nearly 2 tons

(Newser) - Scientists have uncovered the fossilized remains of the largest bear known to walk the Earth, LiveScience reports. Unearthed in Argentina, the giant short-faced bear was at least 11 feet tall when standing on its hind legs and weighed between 3,500 and 3,855 pounds—almost twice as big as... More »

Hundreds of Penguins Wash Up in Brazil

Scientists scrambling for answers

(Newser) - Some 500 dead penguins have washed up on Brazil's beaches, and stumped scientists are searching for a reason. The birds' bellies were completely empty, indicating they starved to death. The cooler than usual temperatures off the coast could have driven away the fish and squid the penguins feed on, one... More »

Dinosaurs Arose in S. America

Fossil of T. rex cousin helps fill in the puzzle

(Newser) - The fossil of a feisty little ancestor of T. rex lends credence to the theory that dinosaurs emerged in South America. More precisely, they likely arose about 230 million years ago in Pangaea, which was then the single joined continent of the Americas. The development follow the discovery of a... More »

US Coast Guard, Brit Navy Seize $380M in Cocaine

Nearly 5.5 tons discovered under concrete floor of fishing boat

(Newser) - The British Navy and US Coast Guard have seized a record $380 million worth of cocaine on a fishing boat off the coast of South America.  The boat was searched for 24 hours before investigators broke up the concrete floor with sledgehammers and discovered 5.5 tons of the... More »

'Bourgeois' Golf Courses Tee Off Chávez

Venezuela shutting down the links—that happen to be near oil

(Newser) - Hugo Chávez has gone after oil conglomerates and media companies, and now he's hitting the capitalist pigs where it hurts: at the golf course. The Venezuelan president is trying to shut down the country's best-known courses, which he believes are part of an anti-Marxist conspiracy, the Independent reports. "... More »

Sauvignon Blancs Perfect for Summer

Wine panel rates the best from South America

(Newser) - We have reached “the vast plateau in the middle of summer,” the time when “one of wine’s primary purposes is to offer relief from the daily bout with seasonal oppression,” writes Eric Asimov in the New York Times. Summer wines, “like a good beach... More »

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