In the past 500 years, humanity has come a long distance in the way we treat children, women, animals, those of other faiths, and members of other cultures; see Steve Pinker’s superb new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, for the documentation. A graphic example of this progress comes from a new paper in PLoS ONE by Angelique Corthals et al. (free download). It’s about infections in children ritually sacrificed by the Incas.
In 1999, a group of archaeologists discovered the preserved bodies of three children near the summit of a high volcano in Argentina. Dating back about five centuries, they included a 6-year old girl, a 7-year old boy, and a 15-year old girl. All of them had been sacrificed to the gods by the horrible practice of capacocha, as described by Wikipedia:
Capacocha was the Inca practice of human sacrifice, mainly using children. The…
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