THE MYSTERY of the Nazca Lines may have been solved by bird experts who think lots of the drawings have been misclassified and that they actually honour creatures associated with rainfall.
The huge carvings in the Andean desert were carved by an ancient Peruvian civilisation 2,000 years ago and have baffled scientists for decades as they try to work out why they were created.
Peru’s famous Nazca Lines are ancient symbols that were carved into vast planes of land and are only visible in all their glory from the air.
Some anthropologists think the Nazca lines were designed to please the gods, which the ancient people thought were looking down from the Sky.
Now, a team of researchers that has been analysing the giant drawings has noticed that the birds depicted do not come from the area but from far off rainforests or coastal areas.
They have proposed that this is because the carvings were made in honour of creatures who were thought to bring rain, as the society would have been highly dependent on rainfall to survive.
This Nazca Lines bird drawing was incorrectly labelled for decades[/caption]
Researchers from Hokkaido University in Japan have released a paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports explaining how lots of the Nazca Line drawings were incorrectly classified and that some them actually represent exotic birds.
They claim that two of the desert carvings depict pelicans, often associated with the coast, and others represent rainforest birds like parrots and hummingbirds, such as the Long-tailed Hermit hummingbird depicted above.
The researchers wrote: “The amount of rainfall in the highlands was estimated by observing the migrations of seabirds.
“When seabirds migrate to mountainous regions of the Nazca pampas during November and December, it is expected that rain will fall in the highlands. On the other hand, if migrating seabirds are not observed, water shortages are feared.”
They concluded that the ancient Peruvian people thought the birds carried the weather with them and brought seawater to the hills and rain from the rainforests.
The carvings could therefore be signs of honouring the birds, worshipping them or hoping for them to come back.
This Nazca Lines bird carving has been reclassified as a Long-tailed Hermit hummingbird[/caption]
What are the Nazca lines?
Here's some facts about the giant ancient artworks…
- The Nazca lines are famous giant patterns that have been etched into vast areas of dry land in Peru and can only be viewed properly from the air
- They were discovered in 1930 by some people crossing over the Nazca desert by plane
- Geologists think that they were designed by Nazca people in the ancient era between 400 and 600 AD
- Anthropologists think they were made to please the gods, which the Nazca people thought were looking down from the sky
- The Nazca lines make up more than 70 different designs including geometric shapes and animals like monkeys or sharks
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