BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

I don't suppose he was thinking "Mayan ritual" while filming ...

This is the "business end" of a stingray ... just in case you were wondering how Steve Irwin managed to get skewered by one of these typically non-aggressive critters. It sounds like pure bad luck, as news reports had him swimming along with stingrays when the event happened ... or as one source put it "when they are attacked by predators or stepped on, the barbed stinger in their tail is mechanically whipped up", which is no doubt how that got stuck in his chest.

Interestingly, stingray spines like this feature prominently in Mayan blood-letting rituals (and burial caches), where the Ahauob (royalty and nobles) pierced themselves in the genitals, tongue, etc. to provide blood offerings.

Of course, the live stingray also comes with a venom, so the stick of the spine is accompanied with an injection of a neurotoxin which has particularly nasty cardiovascular effects. Most stingray incidents involve waders stepping on them, so the wounds are typically in the extremities and are only rarely fatal (I think one report said that there had only been three confirmed stingray-related deaths in Australia) ... however, Irwin got hit right in the chest, which is likely why this ended up killing him.

Ain't I just a font of morbid curiosities?

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Tags: photos
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