Archaeogenomic Evidence from the American Southwest Points to a Pre-Hispanic Scarlet Macaw Breeding Colony North of the Endemic Neotropical Range in Mexico between 900 And 1200 CE
This is an abstract from the "Frontiers in Animal Management: Unconventional Species, New Methods, and Understudied Regions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Hundreds of scarlet macaw skeletons have been recovered from archaeological sites across the American Southwest and northwestern Mexico. The location of these skeletons more than 1,000 km outside their Neotropical endemic range has suggested a far-reaching pre-Hispanic acquisition network. Although evidence for scarlet macaw breeding within this network is only known from the settlement of Paquimé in northwestern Mexico dating between 1250 and 1450 CE, researchers have speculated on the existence of earlier breeding centers within the region. In this study, we analyzed 14 ancient scarlet macaws mitogenomes dating between 900 and 1200 CE from archaeological sites in Chaco Canyon and the contemporaneous Mimbres area of New Mexico. We observed remarkably low genetic diversity consistent with the breeding of a small founder population translocated outside their natural range. Phylogeographic comparisons with mitochondrial sequences from historic macaws collected from their endemic Neotropical range identified genetic affinity between the ancient macaws and a single rare haplogroup (Haplo6) only observed among wild macaws in Mexico and northern Guatemala. Our results suggest that people at an undiscovered pre-Hispanic settlement dating between 900 and 1200 CE managed a macaw breeding colony outside the endemic range and distributed these symbolically important birds through the American Southwest.
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Archaeogenomic Evidence from the American Southwest Points to a Pre-Hispanic Scarlet Macaw Breeding Colony North of the Endemic Neotropical Range in Mexico between 900 And 1200 CE. Richard George, Stephen Plog, Adam Watson, Kari Schmidt, Douglas Kennett. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452177)
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min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;
Abstract Id(s): 24354