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Inca civilisation owes success to llama dung

Posted on Monday, 23 May, 2011 | Comment icon 35 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: CC 2.0 Alexandre Buisse

A new study has discovered that the ancient Incas owed a lot to the excrement of the common llama.

2,700 years ago the Incas switched from hunter-gathering to agriculture, allowing their people to flourish in the area around Machu Picchu. Archaeologists have determined that what facilitated this change was an ample supply of effective fertilizer with which to grow crops or in other words - llama droppings.

"One of the world's greatest ancient civilisations may have been built on llama droppings, a new study has found."

  View: Full article |  Source: BBC News

  Discuss: View comments (35)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #26 Posted by lightly on 24 May, 2011, 23:16 The Incas may have created the biggest empire in the Americas and built Machu Picchu, among other wonders, thanks to a previously overlooked ingredient: llama dung. Manure from llama herds provided fertiliser which enabled corn to be cultivated at very high altitudes, allowing the Inca civilisation to flourish in the Andes and conquer much of South America, according to research. The Incas also used llama manure as fuel to cook and make ceramics. Garcilaso de la Vega, an early Spanish chronicler, noted that farmers in the Cu... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by questionmark on 24 May, 2011, 23:22
Not to forget the intensive mining for guano in (what is nowadays) Chile. That was also used as fertilizer. Now that we have the sensationalistic headline out of the way: The Llama and Guanacos were crucial for the Incan civilization.
Comment icon #28 Posted by lightly on 24 May, 2011, 23:37
Comment icon #29 Posted by the L on 26 May, 2011, 20:37
Owes success is exaggerate thing to say. Anyways, interesting point of view.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Abramelin on 26 May, 2011, 21:17
Researcher says: Western Civilization was built on nothing but paper money. .
Comment icon #31 Posted by lightly on 27 May, 2011, 11:39
I admire the Inca. * From the little i know of them. I was just kidding with the sensational headline thing. Potatoes were very important though , they could be grown at higher altitudes than maize. *
Comment icon #32 Posted by Abramelin on 27 May, 2011, 12:27
Heh, so was I.
Comment icon #33 Posted by lightly on 27 May, 2011, 13:19
... ok, i get it now... ya, i have a lot more respect for the accomplishments of the Inca than our current fast buck society.
Comment icon #34 Posted by jaguarsky on 31 May, 2011, 18:13
composted llama doo is is an excellent fertilizer. Llamas poop in big communal piles, sorta doing that composting/collecting thing for us. There are usually llama wranglers that sell it in nice little bags at most green-centric fairs. It has no smell and a little goes a long way.

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