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Nazca bird geoglyphs depict 'exotic' species

Posted on Saturday, 22 June, 2019 | Comment icon 43 comments

What is the significance of the geoglyphs ? Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Martin St-Amant
A new study has reignited the debate over the mysterious line drawings and why they were created.
Situated on a remote arid plateau in southern Peru, the Nazca Lines are a series of spectacular artistic designs, including images of spiders, monkeys, hummingbirds, fish and lizards, which were etched in to the desert floor almost 2,000 years ago.

Deciphering the meaning behind the images however has long proven a challenge.

Now a new study conducted by a trio of researchers from Japan has suggested that previous studies may have misinterpreted the exact species of bird depicted in some of the images.

An ornithological analysis has revealed that the geoglyph thought to be a hummingbird is actually a hermit - a specific subgroup of hummingbird native to the forests of northern and eastern Peru.

Another image described simply as "a bird" is now believed to be a type of pelican, as is a separate geoglyph previously thought to depict a guano bird.

The researchers were unable to identity all 16 bird geoglyphs, however it is possible that some of them show species that have since gone extinct.

Intriguingly though, the findings seem to suggest that exotic, non-native bird species may have held special significance to the ancient people who created the geoglyphs.

"If exotic/non-local birds were not significant for the Nazca people, there [would be] no reason to draw their geoglyph," said study co-author Masaki Eda of the Hokkaido University Museum in Japan.

"So, their existence should be closely related to the purpose of etching geoglyphs."

"But the reason is difficult to answer."

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (43)

Tags: Nazca Lines

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #34 Posted by Harte on 12 July, 2019, 12:24
There were no mountaintops removed. The lines and drawings are on a plain, not in the mountains. The plain is eroded. Harte
Comment icon #35 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps on 12 July, 2019, 16:36
Harte, am I mixing it up with something else that you can think of? Here is what it says in AtlasObsura "The Nazca Lines are legendary. Stretching across nearly 200 square miles of high arid plateau," I thought they (AA) showed that the plateau was actually mountain tops at one point. Perhaps I'm wrong
Comment icon #36 Posted by Harte on 12 July, 2019, 17:25
They lied. Happens all the time on that show. Harte
Comment icon #37 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps on 12 July, 2019, 17:46
And I can accept that Harte, no problem.  Now, the link I provided saying it was a plateau, is that correct? Because if it is, there is obviously a big diff between a plateau and "plains".  Not a burning issue but thanks in advance
Comment icon #38 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps on 12 July, 2019, 17:57
I did find this source, Harte (and others) "Some of the mountain tops look as if they were completely cut off as if someone sliced off the top of the mountain with a near perfect cut. The surrounding mountains have their peak as any normal hilltop or mountain would. But the ones that have been seemingly cut off have what appear to be landing strips on top of the mountain. They look like runways were paved for some aircraft to land there." Also,  "Another mystery of Nazca is the flat-topped mountain a few miles away from the lines. High above the plain, and containing some of the thicker lines,... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by lightly on 12 July, 2019, 18:34
To me, that picture ^^^ looks like the flat areas are what is left of a Much earlier plain...or plateau?   Which eroded into it's current condition? ....maybe those areas are harder,for somereason, than the eroded areas?
Comment icon #40 Posted by Harte on 12 July, 2019, 20:47
A plateau has a plain on the top. When the plateau erodes, you get remains like small plateaus. With small plains on top. Now, what I've stated are facts. I'm not gonna argue them . Believe what you want, even the lies of that inane television show.   Harte
Comment icon #41 Posted by Hanslune on 12 July, 2019, 21:03
Interesting observation: Some years ago I investigate this question. I looked for images from people who have been on top of those mountains - to see how flat they actually are. I have two flat topped mesa's near my home and they look 'flat' in photographs but the on the ground experience shows they are deeply rutted and uneven. So anyway why are there no close up photographs of these sites?  I mean with close up's of the lowland designs you see they were formed by moving darker rocks off a lighter surface - how are the 'airports' made?
Comment icon #42 Posted by Harte on 13 July, 2019, 2:15
Duplicate condor in Kentucky field made with sticks and string. Harte
Comment icon #43 Posted by khazarkhum on 13 July, 2019, 3:02
Looks like your typical mesa.

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