Thursday, May 5, 2016

Lagniappe: Where Cinnamon Sticks Come From

No one knows where cinnamon sticks come from. There is a bird called the cinnamon bird that gathers the fragrant twigs from some unknown location and builds its nest from them. To harvest the cinnamon, people attach weights to the tips of arrows and shoot the nests down.

That's not actually true, but it was Aristotle's best guess when he described cinnamon in his Historta Animalium in 350 BC. We have since located the source of cinnamon, relieving us of the necessity of shooting down the nests of mythical birds.
Amy Stewart, The Drunken Botanist
I love educated guesses. This makes me remember that some of our best guesses today, often made by historians and scientists, are going to look laughable in the far future. (Sometimes in the near future.) I wonder which ones?

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