Captive Carnivore Remains Found In Mexican Pyramid

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Captive Carnivore Remains Found In Mexican Pyramid

#1  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 20, 2015 2:47 pm

From here, we learn this:

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of the earliest known captive carnivores in Mesoamerica, after excavating the pyramids at the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico. Among the findings were the bones of pumas, eagles and wolves, many of which displayed markings which probably correspond to brutal treatment by their human captors.

Remains of almost 200 animals were found in tunnels underneath the famous Moon Pyramid and Sun Pyramid, during excavations carried out between 1998 and 2004. It is believed that the creatures were placed there as offerings at various stages of the temples’ construction. As such, they predate all previous evidence for captive carnivores in the region, such as the famous descriptions of Aztec zoos and breeding programmes provided by early conquistadores and missionaries such as Hernán Cortés and Bernardino de Sahagún.

The latest findings, described in the journal PLOS ONE, are thought to date back to between 150 and 350 CE, and therefore suggest that the domestication of these creatures was prevalent more than 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.]


Lo and behold, there's a scientific paper to accompany this. Namely this one:

Stable Isotopes And Zooarchaeology At Teotihuacan, Mexico Reveal Earliest Evidence Of Wild Carnivore Management In Mesoamerica by Nawa Sugiyama, Andrew D. Somerville & Margaret J. Schoeninger, PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135635 (2nd September 2015)

Sugiyama et al, 2015 wrote:Abstract

From Roman gladiatorial combat to Egyptian animal mummies, the capture and manipulation of carnivores was instrumental in helping to shape social hierarchies throughout the ancient world. This paper investigates the historical inflection point when humans began to control animals not only as alimental resources but as ritual symbols and social actors in the New World. At Teotihuacan (A.D. 1–550), one of the largest pre-Hispanic cities, animal remains were integral components of ritual caches expressing state ideology and militarism during the construction of the Moon and the Sun Pyramids. The caches contain the remains of nearly 200 carnivorous animals, human sacrificial victims and other symbolic artifacts. This paper argues the presence of skeletal pathologies of infectious disease and injuries manifest on the carnivore remains show direct evidence of captivity. Stable isotope analysis (δ13C and δ15N) of bones and teeth confirms that some of these carnivores were consuming high levels of C4 foods, likely reflecting a maize-based anthropocentric food chain. These results push back the antiquity of keeping captive carnivores for ritualistic purposes nearly 1000 years before the Spanish conquistadors described Moctezuma’s zoo at the Aztec capital. Mirroring these documents the results indicate a select group of carnivores at Teotihuacan may have been fed maize-eating omnivores, such as dogs and humans. Unlike historical records, the present study provides the earliest and direct archaeological evidence for this practice in Mesoamerica. It also represents the first systematic isotopic exploration of a population of archaeological eagles (n = 24) and felids (n = 29).
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Re: Captive Carnivore Remains Found In Mexican Pyramid

#2  Postby Mike_L » Dec 20, 2015 3:09 pm

And among the remains a few xenamorphs... :shifty: :grin:

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