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Buy from National Geographic Animal Jam and get 3 Month Membership Gift Certificates for only $15.95. Apply the code to get Free 1000 Gems from National Geographic Animal Jam until Tuesday, 03 May 2016. Surrounded by naturally preserved corpses, a South American people may have been inspired to make their own elaborate mummies, a new study says.
Preserved by one of Earth's driest climates, a long-buried corpse in Chile's Atacama Desert retains centuries-old skin, hair, and clothing (file picture). Laid to rest on woven reeds, a bewigged prehistoric boya€”or a reasonable facsimilea€”bears evidence to the Chinchorro's complex mummification rituals. Marquet and his team think the start of the Chinchorro's mummification practices coincided with a period of increased rainfall in the nearby Andes mountains (picture) about 7,000 years ago, as evidenced by the discovery of fossils belonging to perennial plants in regions that are so-called absolute desert today. To compare Chinchorro population fluctuations with the environmental evidence, Marquet and his team collected data on nearly 500 radiocarbon-dated archaeological sites in southern Peru and northern Chile. A border of whale bones mark the grave of two adult and two infant Chinchorro mummies, possibly part of the same family. Early Chinchorro mummymakers "flesh out" the bones of a skinned skeleton with reeds and ash paste in an artist's conception. The 2,000-year-old masked face of a mummified Chinchorro woman peers out from shroud made from reeds, rope, and nonhuman skin, possibly of a pelican.Unlike the ancient Egyptians, who considered only kings and other nobles worthy of mummification, the Chinchorro performed the sacred rite on nearly everyone, regardless of age or status. In life and death, some Chinchorro children were strapped to wooden frames worn on their parents' backs. Crumbling after decades in storage at a Santiago museum, Chinchorro mummies are repacked by curators in 1995.Marquet said his team's study helps highlight the role of the environment as a creative force to which humans can respond by cultural innovation. The paste-faced head of a Chinchorro child mummy is held straight by a stick that emerges from the top of the skull.

Around the time that the Chinchorro stopped making mummies, ancient Egyptians took up the practice. Extinct in Stockholm less than a century ago, the rebounding rodent is damaging the city's treesa€”and at the same time charming locals.
Mountain lions and ants are among the many species great and small figuring out clever ways to live among people.
A male peafowl is one of the largest flying birds when the combined length of its train and its large wingspan are considered.
Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails. See a whooping crane, a Javan rhinoceros hornbill, and more stunning birds photographed by Joel Sartore.
Get right up close to 12 colorful new bird galleries, featuring photos from My Shot members and classic art from the NG archives. Naturally dehydrated corpses like this probably inspired the region's ancient Chinchorro people to actively mummify their dead, scientists speculate in a new study. Rather than preserving flesh, the desert people used a paste of manganese-infused ash to sculpt "bodies" atop defleshed skeletons, whose internal organs had been replaced with earth. The resulting curve indicates that population increased dramatically about 7,000 years ago, peaked about a thousand years later, and began declining by about 5,000 years ago. The Chinchorro may have mummified their dead as a way of coping with the persistence of their ancestors' bodies in the arid Atacama."In many hunter-gatherer societies, if the bodies of the dead don't go away, they are still present.
Archaeologists think the Chinchorro developed elaborate death rituals around the mummies they created.
Above, in a detail of a larger photo, a 5,000-year-old mummified child's feet testify to a Chinchorro practice of preserving extremities.The study team's speculation about the rise of Chinchorro mummificationa€”that a flush period 7,000 years ago encouraged cultural developmenta€”works in reverse too. Some scholars have speculated that mummification in North Africa might also have been inspired by bodies preserved in the desert.

These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful "eye" markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. Just answer four simple questions to search our database of 150 backyard birds common to Canada and the U.S. Get a great bargain on your purchases with this special promotion from National Geographic Animal Jam. Many of the mummies were sturdily constructed, their joints reinforced with reeds and sticks.
This may have been done to help the corpses withstand handling by mourners, who may have paraded the mummies around before placing them on display. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird's back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.Male vs. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.Suitable males may gather harems of several females, each of which will lay three to five eggs. In fact, wild peafowl often roost in forest trees and gather in groups called parties.PopulationPeacocks are ground-feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma).
A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.Peafowl such as the blue peacock have been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years.
Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues.

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