August 14, 2018
New Ancient Scarlet Macaw Trade from Mexico to the Ancient Southwest Research
Scarlet Macaws were traded from Mesoamerica to the Ancient Southwest for 2000 years. People at Chaco were importing macaws at 900 CE. A team of researchers at Penn State University has sequenced mitochondrial DNA from 14 ancient Scarlet Macaw remains from Mimbres and Chaco. Scarlet Macaws were bred at Paquime in Chihuahua for trade, but that was at 1250 CE. The team found that the Macaws from 900 CE we’re locally bred. So the Scarlet Macaw trade has to be a lot older than 900 CE.
So somewhere in Mesoamerica, there has to be a much older Scarlet Macaw breeding center that was trading with Chaco before 900 CE. The team found that scarlet macaws fall into seven genetic populations across the Americas. All 14 of the ancient macaws the team researched came form Haplogroup 6, so they were bred from the same stock. In an earlier article, Patricia Crown published in KIVA that traders walking from Mexico to Mimbres would be 11 to 12 weeks old. Paintings on Mimbres pottery show birds that are 8-10 weeks old. So it is very possible that that the birds arrived from an unknown site closer to Mimbres.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
National Geographic has the report here;
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