Mummies of 15th century dogs discovered in Peru

Nov 10, 2010
Archaeologist Jesus Holguin visits the excavation site at the Inca Sanctuary of Pachacamac on November 9. Peruvian archaeologists have discovered six mummified dogs, all dating from the 15th century and apparently presented as religious offerings at a major pre-Columbian site just south of Lima.

Peruvian archaeologists have discovered six mummified dogs, all dating from the 15th century and apparently presented as religious offerings at a major pre-Columbian site just south of Lima.

The dogs "have hair and complete teeth," said Jesus Holguin, an archaeologist at the museum in Pachacamac, located some 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Lima.

Holguin told AFP Wednesday that experts were still trying to determine their breed.

The mummified remains of four children were also found at the site, archaeologists said.

The mummified dogs were found two weeks ago wrapped in cloth and buried in one of Pachacamac's adobe brick pyramids.

believe the animals were offerings related to a funeral, "although we do not know if this was related to an important personality of the Inca period," said archaeologist Isabel Cornejo.

The experts believe the dogs are neither Hairless Peruvian Dogs -- an ancient native breed -- nor sheepdogs found at gravesites of the Chiribaya culture, which flourished in southern Peru between the years 900 and 1350.

"Their strong teeth lead us to believe that they are that were used for hunting," added another expert, Enrique Angulo.

Veterinarian Enrique Angulo examines the remains of one of the six canines found by archeologists buried in the Inca sanctuary of Pachacamac, in the coastal desert strip 30 kms south of Lima.

Researchers will x-ray the finds in an attempt to determine the breed of the animals and whether the were slaughtered.

Pachacamac museum director Denise Pozzi-Escot said that the find will let researchers broaden their knowledge of ancient Peruvian canines.

The remains are well preserved due to the type of soil and the dry weather along the Peruvian coastline, where it rarely rains.

At its height, Pachacamac was the most important ceremonial center on Peru's central coast, where thousands of pilgrims flocked from afar bringing rich offerings. Human sacrifices took place at the site.

At least three different societies occupied Pachacamac for hundreds before the Incas took it over around 1400. The Incas in turn were defeated by Spanish conquistadors who arrived in 1532.

Explore further: Answer to restoring lost island biodiversity found in fossils

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japanese help uncover ancient Peru remains

Sep 10, 2009

A joint Japanese-Peruvian archeological mission has uncovered the remains of a pre-Incan woman sacrificed more than 2,000 years ago in the Andean nation, experts told local media Wednesday.

Peru archaeologists find pre-Inca remains

Jul 21, 2010

Peruvian archaeologists have found remains from a person believed to be a leader of a key pre-Inca civilization that is more than 1,200 years old, one of the researchers said.

Small dogs originated in the Middle East

Feb 23, 2010

A genetic study has found that small domestic dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology traced the evolutionary histor ...

Dogs outdo humans at detecting rare noxious weed

Jun 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A field test in Montana pitted dog against human in an effort to identify and eradicate spotted knapweed. This weed threatens the survival of native species and can bring about both economic and ecosystem ...

Human-dog communication -- breed as important as species

Jul 24, 2009

Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision. A series of tests, ...

Recommended for you

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight

Sep 19, 2014

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State Univer ...

Militants threaten ancient sites in Iraq, Syria

Sep 19, 2014

For more than 5,000 years, numerous civilizations have left their mark on upper Mesopotamia—from Assyrians and Akkadians to Babylonians and Romans. Their ancient, buried cities, palaces and temples packed ...

New branch added to European family tree

Sep 17, 2014

The setting: Europe, about 7,500 years ago. Agriculture was sweeping in from the Near East, bringing early farmers into contact with hunter-gatherers who had already been living in Europe for tens of thousands ...

User comments : 0