The mummified head of a prehistoric bird was found back in 2016, the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico has revealed.
Researchers say the bird was unearthed in the Avendanos Cave in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The scientists believe they have identified the head of one of the oldest macaw mummies ever discovered.
"The first [thing] we noticed was the head of the macaw in perfect condition," Archaeologist Emiliano Gallaga told The National Geographic.
The green color of the military macaw's plume is visible and its beak is intact. The researchers determined that the bird dates back to about 2,000 years to 900 AD – 800 years older than any other specimen from that region.
The scientist disclosed that military macaws were not native to the region of the Central American country and as a result were likely brought there for religious purposes.
Gallaga, who is the director of the School of Anthropology North of Mexico, said the species of parrot had been naturally mummified by the arid climate of the region.
"It's still 400 kilometers [250 miles] that someone has to take it and bring it to this site," Gallaga highlighted. "Not everybody can afford to bring a macaw from far away,” explaining that the bird was probably owned by high-ranking members of society like merchants, shamans and other elites.
"One of the reasons Gallaga's find is really, really exciting is because of the early date," Abigail Holeman, said. "It does speak to the antiquity of their ritual importance."
The parrot's head was found along with the skeleton of an infant and the lower half of a man.