Mysterious etchings in Peruvian Desert prove to be foreign birds: What did they mean to the Pre-Incans? (photos)

Enter Ornithological Archaeology?


The sprawling Nazca Lines have long been cloaked in mystery. The enormous geoglyphs number in the thousands and portray everything from animals and plants to seemingly mythical beasts and geometric patterns. Now, researchers have found some of Peru’s massive creations depict non-native birds.

Among the 16 massive bird carvings in the Nazca desert of southern Peru are a hermit (a forest species) and a pelican (a coastal denizen), according to new research published yesterday (June 19) in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

No one knows why the Nazca Lines were made, and it’s too early to say why the pre-Inca people who carved them would have been interested in non-native birds, said study co-author Masaki Eda, a zooarchaeologist at the Hokkaido University Museum in Japan.

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