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Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 15:54:51 -0700 (PDT)
From: Phoebe Davis 
Subject: RE: (urth) inhuma in brazil

A bird question - how wonderful!  The inhuma is more commonly known as the Horned
Screamer, Anhima cornuta.  I saw the link that Crush found but was dissatisfied -- I
wanted to see a picture of the bird as I wanted to see a picture of Oreb some posts back.
 I found that Inhuma and Inhumas are cities or at least villages in Brazil - their
current weather can be viewed on the internet. Determined, I kept going.  The connection
between the horned screamer and the inhuma, which I surmised from a link using yet
another google search, was confirmed by this excerpt from the
capoeiradobrasil.com.br/dicionario of inhuma or Iúna, translated by Google: 

<<< Iúna - s. f. Corruptela of inhuma or anhuma . [ Of tupi ña ' one , ' black bird ',
with aglutinação of the article ] 1. Anseriforme bird, of the family of the anhimídeos (
Anhuma cornuta ). Master Maneca Brandão (" I sing It of the Iúna - the Saga of a Capoeira
", Itabuna/BA, 1ª ed.) he adds: " symbol of the wit and the matreirice , (...) the bird
really exists and inhabits heaths, charcos, lagoons, etc. The term " Iúna " is one
corruptela of its true name: Inhuma or Anhuma . It has the transport of a Peru, with long
legs and feet of great fingers, with two carpianos esporões in each wing, beyond a long
córneo thorn in the high one of the head. Its plumage is bruno blackish and black. [
Sin.: alicorne, anhima, cametau, cauintã, cavitantau, cauintau, inhaúma, inhuma, licorne,
unicorne, unicórnio. ] 2. Name given to one has touched of berimbau, very melodioso, used
in the game of the capoeira. Touch created by Bimba Master, for rasteiro, on game and
with balloons, used only for masters of Capoeira. >>>

According to the description, the horned screamer is similar to other almost prehistoric
looking birds of South America – it has claws on each wing (the carpianos esporoes) as
well as a hornlike (how apropos) extrusion, called a thorn above, on its head.  It has
been partially domesticated and used to protect flocks of chickens.  It certainly has
mystical associations for the Carajas and some connection to the game or dance of
capoeirado, although links are in Portugese or non-existant.   Here are a couple of links
-the first to a photo, the second to a drawing, the third to a recording of its most
astounding call:  

After my research (it was a slow day at work) I personally believe that the similarity in
name between our flyers and the obscure name of a rather prosaic domesticated bird to be
coincidence. Glad to be convinced otherwise.  Inhuman, Inhuma seems clear to me.
Different of course from the night chough which seems clearly picked for the species’
mythological connections.  IMHO of course!  


--- James Wynn  wrote:
> Joe Eull said:
> "Among the birds is the inhuma, which is:
> ...a gigantic and mysterious fowl, bigger than a cock capercailzie but built
> on more or less the same lines. These would take refuge in the tops of trees
> and thence utter a strange, murmurous and rather asthmatic crooning. Whether
> they are good to eat I can not say."
> I tried a google search on inhuma and Brazil but all I came up with is a
> reference to a Lake Inhuma.
> http://www.net-serv.com/mcintyre/brazilian_adventure.htm
> The only link I could find on this subject was a site created by an
> elementary school teacher on Peter Fleming's book. She describes the Inhumas
> as "mysterious", "said to have talons on it's wings", and an "object of some
> sort of superstition among the Carajas"
> Perhaps a book on the Carajas would yield more information. But this does
> smell like the sort of thing that would attract Wolfe's attention.
> Nice find!
> --- Crush
> -- 

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