Biological Knowledge of Ancient Meso-American Indians
Summary of Maciej Kuczyński's book "Czciciele węża"
("Worshippers of the Serpent" or “Veneradores de la Serpiente”), Warszawa 1990. (cont.)
By Maciej Kuczyński
Another drawing, reproduced from codex Bodley (6), gives to the strand in question the unmistakably biological meaning and significance.
Figure 6. Above C. Bodley; below C. VINDOBONENSIS
: precious vessel with a striped strand or tlapapalli
C.BODLEY It shows the Tree of Life growing out of the tlapapalli - the hieroglyph of a chromosome, correctly placed in the precious vessel's or cell's nucleus. The whole expresses an idea of the cellular nature of all life (everything has its origin in the cell) and of the commonly shared genetic information arranged linearly along the cellular strand.
Exactly the same strand surrounds page 36 of Nuttal on three sides. It has a stylised head of a serpent with a widely opened mouth added at the end of the left side. There are small, spirally twisted, feathers along the whole body. They testify that this striped, information bearing, twisted strand is being identified with the Feathered Serpent or Quetzalcóatl. (See above: "your father and mother, Quetzalcóatl, formed you” ;"precious stone and rich feathers, what made her pregnant”).
The narrow strand with `mitochondria`, the same which is visible in the two central precious vessels, is running along the serpent's body. It informs that this serpent's place is the cell. In this connection, strikingly significant is the Zapotec Indians' term for the snake: xica pita'o mani, which means an “animal from god's vessel”.
At the end of the right side the strand transforms itself into a human trunk with kicking legs. The conclusion is that this peculiar symbol equates the strand with the human body, expressing the relationship of genotype and phenotype. Genotype being a collection of genes recorded on the strands of chromosomes and phenotype being a body built with participation of these genes. Such an explanation is supported by the religious song of the Toltec Indians, creators of the Feathered Serpent cult: “I, the reproduction of the Old man, the serpent of the night”. A literary translation is that the man is a specific reproduction of the ancient genetic record on the invisible, hidden in “the night”, serpentine strands of chromosomes.
The Indian rock painting from San Emigdio Range, California (Natural History, No. 6, 1964) provided further evidence that these striped and twisted strands really represent DNA and chromosomes (7).
This painting is only a fragment of what was an immense rock painting with obviously biological content depicting numerous schemes of cells and chromosomes transforming into animal and human shapes. The drawing reproduced here (7 centre) presents the DNA's essential property, that is the ability of self replication.
Xochicalco Basement self-duplication (left)
Scheme of DNA, San Emigdio Range, Cal.(right)
Xochicalco Scheme of DNA San Emigdio Range, Cal.
In order to duplicate itself, the DNA splits, forming what are termed “replication forks” (7a). The indian drawing (7b) represents clearly, and moreover schematically, the same phenomenon. The spread out hands are an allegorical represenatation of the anxiety of the living thing, existing thus far in its genotype, to realise itself in bodily form.
The progeny strands of DNA originated this way, coexist in the cell nucleus bound together by a small body called centromere. Such a double chromosome is called a bivalent chromosome or simply - bivalent. When preparing itself for the cell division, the bivalent constricts and twists its strands to form two thick rods, still connected and easily visible under the microscope in the form of “x”.