Table of Contents - Volume 9, number 4 (December 2004) - 24 pages
Pigeons are birds that have an almost worldwide distribution, but are most abundant in warm regions. Pigeons have been domesticated for several thousand years. They have extraordinary navigational abilities, and if they are released far from home they are still able to return. Homing pigeons have been bred to carry messages. Baby pigeons are rarely seen because they are kept in their nest and fed on regurgitated pigeon milk until they reach almost adult size.
Upon extending this figure, the body, feet, and flapping wings of the pigeon appear.
When the stump of an umbilical cord is left attached to an infant, and then finally withers and drops off it leaves behind a scar on the abdomen known as a navel. In some cultures it is considered taboo for a woman to expose her navel. In Western society, displaying the navel is becoming more acceptable, and piercing the belly button is becoming common.
In this figure, the central double-walled diamond represents a navel.
The impulse to adorn is found in all cultures, and can have many functions. It may indicate the status of the wearer, embellish and celebrate the body or human spirit, serve to please the eye of the beholder, or perhaps have the intention of obtaining good fortune and protection from evil. In all cases ornamentation is a testament to the artistry and skill of the makers who utilize tools and materials available to their culture. Neck ornaments made from clam shells connected by plant fibers are commonly found on Pacific islands.
New Caledonia is located in the south Pacific Ocean, east of Australia. It is an overseas territory of France, with a population of 214,000, and an average life expectancy of 74. Very little land is devoted to agriculture. Most of its economy is based on tourism and nickel mining. New Caledonia has more than 20% of the world's known nickel resources. The Loyalty Islands are about 100 kilometers east of New Caledonia. Lifu is the largest of four inhabited islands in the Loyalty archipelago. Its chief export is copra (dried coconut meat).
In this figure, the diamond mesh represents the sprawled body of a dead man (the figure is held parallel to the ground). Each finger loop represents a limb.
A coconut is a dry fruit known as a fibrous drupe. Since its fruit is light and buoyant the plant is readily spread by marine currents which can carry coconuts significant distances. The coconut palm thrives on sandy, saline soils in areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall. Each tree yields about 75 nuts per year. With the exception of its roots, all parts of the coconut palm are useful. The tree provides an edible fruit, coconut water, coconut milk, feed for livestock, fiber for ropes and mats, coconut oil, timber, thatching, charcoal, and plasma for emergency blood transfusions. Many atoll communities derive significant economic value from the coconut palm.
In this figure, the three diamonds represent coconuts.
Availability of fresh water is a problem for many islands in the Pacific. It is dependent on the amount of rainfall, area of the island, climatic conditions, the ability to contain the liquid, and pollution. Trapped under most islands is a small fresh water lens. Since fresh water is less dense than salt water, fresh water collects in aquifers under the island.
In the past, Easter Island inhabitants supplemented their limited fresh water supply by drinking copious amounts of sugarcane juice. As a result, they had the highest incidence of tooth decay of any known prehistoric people.
In this figure, the central double-walled diamond represents the well; the parallel strings running from the well to the right hand represent the path.
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