Zimbabwe bride weds days after losing arm in croc attack

Zanele Ndlovu walks down the aisle on her wedding day at a hospital chapel in Bulawayo. (AP Photo)
Updated 08 May 2018

Zimbabwe bride weds days after losing arm in croc attack

  • Zanele Ndlovu-Fox exchanged vows with her husband Jamie Fox in a hospital chapel before 60 guests in Bulawayo.
  • The lovers were canoeing along the Zambezi river, near the Victoria Falls, when they were attacked by a crocodile.

HARARE: A Zimbabwean woman lost her arm after a crocodile attack whilst holidaying with her fiancé wedded days later in a hospital chapel, state media reported Tuesday.
Zanele Ndlovu-Fox exchanged vows with her husband Jamie Fox in a hospital chapel before 60 guests in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
A picture in The Herald showed Ndlovu-Fox decked out in her white wedding gown with her remaining upper right limb covered in white bandage.
The lovers were canoeing along the Zambezi river, near the Victoria Falls, when they were attacked by a crocodile few days earlier.
“The crocodile just jumped out of the water and bit a chunk of my arm together with the side of the boat,” Ndlovu-Fox told the newspaper.
“The canoe started deflating and it all happened so fast. The crocodile bit me again and pulled me into the water. My husband was thrown out on the opposite side, so the boat was between us.”
She said her husband and their tour guides wrestled the crocodile which later released her before she was airlifted to a hospital by a helicopter where the crushed part of the arm was amputated.
Hospitalized, she walked up the aisle to wed Fox at the infirmary.
“I spent a lot of time preparing for my wedding day, running around for venue, decor and so forth. I didn’t know that fate would have me wed in a hospital chapel, with one limb missing,” she said.
Despite all this, “my wedding was the best,” Ndlovu-Fox said.
Her husband told the same newspaper that the crocodile attack strengthened their union.
“This incident actually made me feel the deep meaning in our vows. For the better or worse, in sickness and in health, that’s just how our love is going to be,” said Fox.
The couple is reportedly preparing to relocate to Britain soon.


Did Neanderthals bury their dead with flowers? Iraq cave yields new clues

The bones of a Neanderthal's left hand emerging from the sediment in Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq, is seen in an undated photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 39 min 31 sec ago

Did Neanderthals bury their dead with flowers? Iraq cave yields new clues

  • Remains of 10 Neanderthals - seven adults and three infants - were dug up there six decades ago, offering insight into the physical characteristics, behavior and diet of this species

WASHINGTON: A Neanderthal skeleton unearthed in an Iraqi cave already famous for fossils of these extinct cousins of our species is providing fresh evidence that they buried their dead — and intriguing clues that flowers may have been used in such rituals.
Scientists said on Tuesday they had discovered in Shanidar Cave in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq the well-preserved upper body skeleton of an adult Neanderthal who lived about 70,000 years ago. The individual — dubbed Shanidar Z — was perhaps in his or her 40s or 50s. The sex was undetermined.
The cave was a pivotal site for mid-20th century archaeology. Remains of 10 Neanderthals — seven adults and three infants — were dug up there six decades ago, offering insight into the physical characteristics, behavior and diet of this species.
Clusters of flower pollen were found at that time in soil samples associated with one of the skeletons, a discovery that prompted scientists involved in that research to propose that Neanderthals buried their dead and conducted funerary rites with flowers.
That hypothesis helped change the prevailing popular view at the time of Neanderthals as dimwitted and brutish, a notion increasingly discredited by new discoveries. Critics cast doubt, however, on the “flower burial,” arguing the pollen could have been modern contamination from people working and living in the cave or from burrowing rodents or insects.
But Shanidar Z’s bones, which appear to be the top half of a partial skeleton unearthed in 1960, were found in sediment containing ancient pollen and other mineralized plant remains, reviving the possibility of flower burials. The material is being examined to determine its age and the plants represented.
“So from initially being a skeptic based on many of the other published critiques of the flower-burial evidence, I am coming round to think this scenario is much more plausible and I am excited to see the full results of our new analyzes,” said University of Cambridge osteologist and paleoanthropologist Emma Pomeroy, lead author of the research published in the journal Antiquity.

COGNITIVE SOPHISTICATION
Scholars have argued for years about whether Neanderthals buried their dead with mortuary rituals much as our species does, part of the larger debate over their levels of cognitive sophistication.
“What is key here is the intentionality behind the burial. You might bury a body for purely practical reasons, in order to avoid attracting dangerous scavengers and/or to reduce the smell. But when this goes beyond practical elements it is important because that indicates more complex, symbolic and abstract thinking, compassion and care for the dead, and perhaps feelings of mourning and loss,” Pomeroy said.
Shanidar Z appears to have been deliberately placed in an intentionally dug depression cut into the subsoil and part of a cluster of four individuals.
“Whether the Neanderthal group of dead placed around 70,000 years ago in the cave were a few years, a few decades or centuries — or even millennia — apart, it seems clear that Shanidar was a special place, with bodies being placed just in one part of a large cave,” said University of Cambridge archaeologist and study co-author Graeme Barker.
Neanderthals — more robustly built than Homo sapiens and with larger brows — inhabited Eurasia from the Atlantic coast to the Ural Mountains from about 400,000 years ago until a bit after 40,000 years ago, disappearing after our species established itself in the region.
The two species interbred, with modern non-African human populations bearing residual Neanderthal DNA.
Shanidar Z was found to be reclining on his or her back, with the left arm tucked under the head and the right arm bent and sticking out to the side.