Scarlet Macaw Skeletons Point to Early Emergence of Pueblo Hierarchy

This skull of a scarlet macaw (Ara macao) was excavated from Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico by researchers from the American Museum of Natural History in 1897.  @ AMNH/D. Finnin

This skull of a scarlet macaw (Ara macao) was excavated from Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico by researchers from the American Museum of Natural History in 1897. 

@ AMNH/D. Finnin


New work on the skeletal remains of scarlet macaws found in an ancient Pueblo settlement indicates that social and political hierarchies may have emerged in the American Southwest earlier than previously thought. Researchers determined that the macaws, whose brilliant red and blue feathers are highly prized in Pueblo culture, were persistently traded hundreds of miles north from Mesoamerica starting in the early 10th century, at least 150 years before the origin of hierarchy is usually attributed. [Full Text]