Ancient art reveals extinct goose

Picture above: ‘Meidum Geese’, Chapel of Itet, mastaba of Nefermaat and Itet (Dynasty 4), Meidum, Egypt. Credit score: C.Okay. Wilkinson

As a College of Queensland researcher examined a 4600-year-old Egyptian portray final 12 months, a speckled goose caught his eye.

UQ scientist Dr. Anthony Romilio mentioned the unusual however lovely chook was fairly not like fashionable red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis), with distinct, daring colours and patterns on its physique, face, breast, wings and legs.

“The portray, Meidum Geese, has been admired since its discovery within the 1800s and described as “Egypt’s Mona Lisa,'” he mentioned.

“Apparently no-one realized it depicted an unknown species.

“Creative license might account for the variations with fashionable geese, however artworks from this website have extraordinarily life like depictions of different birds and mammals.”

Dr. Romilio mentioned no bones from fashionable red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis) had been discovered on any Egyptian archaeological website.

“Curiously, bones of the same however not similar chook have been discovered on Crete,” he mentioned.

“From a zoological perspective, the Egyptian art work is the one documentation of this distinctively patterned goose, which seems now to be globally extinct.”

Dr. Romilio mentioned extinct animals had been recognized beforehand in historical artwork, however not all of the species had been scientifically confirmed.

“I utilized the Tobias standards to the goose, together with different varieties of geese within the fresco,” he mentioned.

Ancient art reveals extinct goose
Credit score: C.Okay. Wilkinson

“This can be a extremely efficient methodology in figuring out species—utilizing quantitative measurements of key chook options—and vastly strengthens the worth of the knowledge to zoological and ecological science.”

Dr. Romilio mentioned Egypt was not at all times predominantly desert and had “a biodiverse historical past, wealthy with extinct species.”

“Its historical tradition emerged when the Sahara was inexperienced and coated with grasslands, lakes and woodlands, teeming with numerous animals, lots of which had been depicted in tombs and temples,” he mentioned.

“Up to now, science has confirmed the id of comparatively few of those species.”

Dr. Romilio mentioned the art work he examined was from the tomb of Nefermaat and Itet at Meidum and was now in Cairo’s Museum of Egyptian Antiquities.

“Artwork gives cultural perception, but additionally a helpful, graphical document of animals unknown immediately,” he mentioned.

“These embrace the predecessor of contemporary cattle, the auroch (Bos primigenius), and beforehand unknown types of gazelle, oryx, antelope and donkey.

“These historical animal representations assist us acknowledge the biodiversity 1000’s of years in the past that co-existed with people.

“I see it additionally as a reminder of people’ affect over the survival of species which can be with us immediately.”

The analysis has been printed within the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reviews.

Dr. Romilio mentioned myriad species with shade markings not matching these of contemporary animals had been detailed in “A Information to Extinct Animals of Historical Egypt.”


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Extra data:
A. Romilio. Assessing ‘Meidum Geese’ species identification with the ‘Tobias standards’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reviews (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.102834

Supplied by
College of Queensland

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Historical artwork reveals extinct goose (2021, February 23)
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