Depending on who is looking, the mysterious jungles of the Amazon encourage many different shoots. The wise men fear and respect the incredibly diverse biosphere. The curious enter the jungle with a sense of wonder and hope for discovery, while the greedy see the green tangle of the dense forest as something to be destroyed and transformed into another kind of green.
Occasionally referred to as the lungs of the world, the Amazon Basin lies primarily in South American Brazil (although the rainforest covers several nations, including Peru, Colombia and smaller quantities in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and the French Territory of French Guiana). The Amazon basin itself is huge ̵
10. The discoverer Francisco de Orellana
After Francisco Pizarro had conquered the Inca empire, his half-brother Gonzalo Pizarro (who participated in the destruction of the Incas) came to Peru as ruler of the city Quito. The locals spoke of a large kingdom east of the Andes, the land of cinnamon, or the famous golden city of El Dorado. In 1541, Pizarro chose one of his faithful subjects, Francisco de Orellana, to accompany him in his search for the kingdoms. The reconnaissance crusade did not go well from the start. Thousands of expedition members died or simply disappeared in the wild. After crossing the high mountain peaks of the Andes only a few dozen left. Pizarro decided to return to Quito and ordered Orellana to find more kingdoms to conquer and follow the rivers to the Atlantic.
With about 50 men Orellana built some river boats and drove the Amazon. On the way he recorded the meeting of several river cities which they found to have been ruled by an Inland Empire. When Orellana asked these people about the location of the gold cities the locals did not know what he was talking about. The European conquistadors believed they were lying and resorted to torture, eventually turning against most of the peoples they came in contact with. On June 24, 1542, they came across another group of river dwellers. They were warned of Orellana hostile actions by natives and attacked the Orellana Party. During the fight against the brave fighters the conquerors were stunned to fight female warriors. This should later remind the Europeans of the famous Amazonian fighters of the Greek legend – and thus give the river its name. On August 26, 1542, the men reached the Pacific and traveled as the first Europeans down the Amazon.
Returning to Spain, Orellana talked about his travels and the major urban areas he met by the river. But years later, when the Spaniards finally returned to the Amazon, they found nothing but dense jungle. What happened to all the people he saw?
. 9 The Amazon jungle was once the home of millions
When later expeditions attempted to find the civilization that told Orellana about everything they could find along the Amazon, was the jungle. Orellana had died shortly after his trip and could offer no insight or defense, because what people were claiming was at best exaggerated and at worst a lie in the hope of getting the Spanish crown out of the money for a new expedition. For centuries, this was the usual wisdom of the academic world: that the Amazon jungle was sparsely populated with some of today's known, uncontacted indigenous tribes.
New research destroys these assumptions, supported by new technologies like satellite imagery and LIDAR (a laser imaging system that can look harmlessly through forest roofs). Analysis of this data has revealed that between 1200 and 1500 AD, a huge civilization of million lived along the Amazonian system.
It is believed that this civilization was ruined by its success as a complex trading network. Newly introduced European diseases spread throughout the empire. People were infected without ever seeing or getting in touch with a sick European. Most people died and society was destroyed. Within a few years, the jungle grew over the deserted urban settlements. Years later, when European explorers returned, they saw only a dense, impenetrable jungle.
. 8 Black Soil
One of the biggest arguments against a large Amazon civilization was the basin's famously poor soil quality – so poor it could never have supported a civilization with such a large population. Even today, after the jungle is mowed and its trees burned down, farmers can only grow limited crops before the soil is exhausted and they must continue the destructive fire-cut cycle.
This argument was eventually overturned with the discovery of terra preta . Scientists would find patches of rich, dark soil called Terra Preta. The plants grown on this soil grew exponentially more than the plants grown on normal Amazon soil. Initially it was thought to be natural, but then researchers found that the soil of artisans of the ancient Amazonian civilization was made by a process that scientists are only now beginning to understand.
. 7 Boiling River
Deep in the Peruvian jungle lies a mysterious boiling river. For decades it was considered a myth; Only when Andrés Ruzo penetrated deep into the forest to track him, his existence was confirmed. He traveled up river by river and finally found a river that was so hot that when something fell in it he is cooked alive. His non-volcanic origins are a mystery. The river starts cool and flows through a hot spring, before finally cooling down again. Since no local volcanic activity is known, the researchers are not sure where the boiling river came from.
Some speculate that it was, in fact, accidentally created by unscrupulous prospectors searching the jungle for oil or mineral deposits, ignoring the environmental impact of their wild-west drilling techniques. Similar drilling methods have caused an ecological catastrophe in Indonesia: the Sidoarjo Mud River . There, an oil drilling rig triggered a mud volcano that has silted several villages in up to 30 meters of mud for about a decade, displaced 60,000 people from their homes and continues to emit mud.
. 6 Everywhere in the Amazon there are human-made structures
For decades, impoverished farmers have plundered the incredibly diverse biosphere of the Amazon. The extent of deforestation is mind-boggling. By 2019, scientists estimated that nearly 20 percent of the original Amazon was slashed and burned. While this plunder of the rain forest's unique ecosystem is unforgivable, there have been some startling discoveries among the burnt stumps and charred endangered species.
When the forest retreats from the fires, hundreds of fortified urban areas as well as hills of circles, squares and other geometric shapes were revealed. The researchers estimate that hundreds and possibly thousands of other structures are still hidden in the jungle. This was partly confirmed by limited LIDAR scans. These forms suggest a complex lost civilization. To create such structures, astrologers would have been needed, since they are aligned with the stars, and craftsmen with complex mathematical knowledge, such as structures that are difficult to produce, like squares in circles. There should also be a society big enough to support these specific roles. Only a fraction of the remaining jungle was revealed by LIDAR scans. As more of the jungle is scanned, more of the lost civilization is revealed.
. 5 Nutrients from the Amazon come from Africa
The soil in the Amazon is known to be low in nutrients, the most important of which is phosphorus . What Phosphorus of the Amazon does slowly escapes in the massive Amazonian complex. Even more amazing is that the nutrients it contains are not from local sources – not even from the land mass of South America. It is replenished by dust from all over the ocean.
Hundreds of millions of tons of wind-borne, phosphorus-rich dust flows from Africa across the Atlantic and falls on the Amazon which provides valuable nutrients. More than half of the dust that fertilizes the Amazon Rainforest comes from the Bodélé Depression in northern Chad, in the Sahara. Winds stir up the dust, where it rises into the upper atmosphere and is carried to South America and the prevailing winds.
. 4 Something mysteriously makes little silk towers
Deep in the Peruvian Amazon, scientists like the spider-hunter Phil Torres were surprised by the incredibly complicated silk structures in the trees. If they were human, they would not seem inappropriate as a city square or an art sculpture. These symmetrical "buildings", called "Silkhenge", are reminiscent of the architecture of the ancients. The tiny silk constructions consist of two parts: a tall central tower and a circular fence with a diameter of about 6 millimeters .
After months of research, the researchers were finally able to determine their purpose, when a baby spider emerged from the tower. This shocked the researchers, as a spider that lays only one or two spider eggs is incredibly rare. Despite all research, spider experts are still not sure which species form the Silkhenge complexes.
. 3 Man Causes Drought in the Amazon
One of the climate scientists' biggest fears is the feedback loops for the release of carbon on Earth. One of the best known examples is the Arctic permafrost. With increasing climate change, global temperatures are rising. Nowhere is this more dangerous than in the Arctic. There, rising temperatures melt the permafrost. This releases methane and other greenhouse gases that permafrost trapped beneath its frozen mass. This released gas further raises the temperature, melts more permafrost, and releases more greenhouse gases – a feedback loop.
The Amazon jungle is a great carbon sink. When it rains, the jungle grows and tons of carbon are trapped in Amazon's vegetation. The Amazon is cut down so heavily that it causes drought – droughts that were thought to have occurred once in a hundred years. Now they are more common as fewer trees mean less rain. Drought periods in 2005, 2010 and 2015 are alarming for scientists as during the drought periods, carbon is released from the Amazon as tree growth declines and trees die of thirst. From 2005 to 2008, the Amazon Basin lost an average  0.27 petagrams of carbon (270 million tons) per year . This results in a feedback loop. More deforestation causes less rainfall and drought. The more droughts occur, the more forest dies and causes drought – a feedback loop to climate change.
. 2 There is a plastic mushroom in the Amazon area
One of the greatest innovations of modern times was the invention of plastics. It was also one of our biggest curses. Plastic pollutes the landscape and causes great problems – problems that are so bad that cities and even countries have banned things like plastic bags . In the Oceans, Discarded Plastic produced huge garbage spots larger than Texas. Oceans are littered with so much plastic that it is misunderstood as food by fish and animals. Dead birds and even whales wash themselves down on banks with stomachs full of plastic waste . The problem with plastic is also the best: it is so durable. An answer to this problem could have been found in the Amazon.
Pestalotiopsis microspora is a fungus that could be our way out of our plastic waste crisis. Scientists discovered in the Amazon have converted the mushrooms into Fungi Mutarium which turns plastic into food . At present, the process is too slow to handle the plastic crisis effectively. Hopefully, in the future, a new industry will emerge based on this mushroom, capable of coping with the mountains of plastic waste that our world produces every single day.
. 1 Amazon forest is a wild garden
The lost Amazonian civilization is slowly emerging from oblivion. Stories like that of the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana are seen in a new light. Structures emerging from the devastated jungles show us the physical evidence of their existence. Their advanced technology, as the mysterious black soil shows, is only now being understood. However, one of the biggest remnants of their society is clearly hidden.
Studies of plant species of the Amazon have produced amazing results. In studying the tree species of the Amazon, scientists concluded that a large proportion of ( is too high to be random ) domesticated plants such as the Brazil nut, the Amazon tree and grape the ice cream is bean tree. The results show that the lost Amazonian civilization has been advanced in silviculture – or in science, to identify, domesticate, breed and cultivate trees. Not trees, but trees that provide enough food to feed millions of people.
The Amazon is not a random cluster of trees, as one would expect if it were pristine wilderness. No, the Amazon Jungle is really just a huge collection of overgrown artificial orchards.
Jon Lucas reports on events that took place that day in World War I . You can track the action on Twitter Tumblr or Instagram