Peccaries help to discover Brazilian prehistoric art

This video says about itself:

White-lipped Peccary in the Clay Lick of the Yasuni

1 Apr 2011

The White-lipped Peccary, Tayassu pecari, is a peccary species found in Central and South America, living in rainforest, dry forest and chaco scrub. It is monotypic within the genus Tayassu.

The white-lipped peccary is diurnal and lives in large herds of 50 to 300+ individuals, though there have been reported sightings of up to 2,000 individuals. It is an omnivorous animal, feeding on fruits, roots, tubers, palm nuts, grasses and invertebrates.

Like the collared peccary, it is a main prey species of the jaguar and, less frequently, of the cougar.

The white-lipped peccary is widely considered the most dangerous peccary; unlike the rather shy collared peccary, the white-lipped species will charge at any enemy if cornered, and when one of them is injured, the entire herd returns to defend it. There are reports of jaguars being killed by angered peccary herds and even some humans have been killed.


The white-lipped peccary is found in Central America and South America. It ranges from southeast Mexico, throughout eastern Central America, to northern Argentina. The white-lipped peccary was introduced to Cuba in 1930, but possibly is no longer found there. According to the IUCN it’s already extirpated in El Salvador and its range has been reduced in Mexico and Central America during the last 20 years.

From Wildlife Extra:

White-lipped peccary trails lead to archaeological discovery in Brazil

WCS researchers stumble upon 4,000-10,000 year-old cave drawings

November 2013: Ancient cave drawings of animals made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago were a surprise find in Brazil for a team of scientists on the trail of white-lipped peccaries, herd-forming pig-like animals that travel long distances. The team from the Wildlife Conservation Society and a local partner NGO, Instituto Quinta do Sol were gathering environmental data in forests that link Brazil’s Pantanal and Cerrado biomes.

The peccaries are vulnerable to human activities, such as deforestation and hunting, and are disappearing from large swaths of their former range from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. While following signals from radio-collared white-lipped peccaries and the foraging trails of peccary herds, the team encountered a series of prominent sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of animals and geometric figures.

Keuroghlian contacted Aguiar, a regional specialist in cave drawings. [Aguiar] determined that the drawings were made between 4,000–10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer societies that either occupied the caves, or used them specifically for their artistic activities. The style of some drawings, Aguiar noted, was consistent with what archeologists call the Planalto (central Brazilian plateau) tradition, while others, surprisingly, were more similar to Nordeste (northeastern Brazil) or Agreste (forest to arid-land transition in NE Brazil) style drawings. The drawings depict an assemblage of animals including armadillos, deer, large cats, birds, and reptiles, as well as human-like figures and geometric symbols. Oddly, the subject of the WCS surveys in the area—peccaries—are absent from the illustrations. Aguiar hopes to conduct cave floor excavations and geological dating at the sites in order to fully interpret the drawings.

“These discoveries of cave drawings emphasize the importance of protecting the Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems, both for their cultural and natural heritage” said Dr. Julie Kunen, Director of WCS’s Latin America and Caribbean Program and an expert on Mayan archeology. “We hope to partner with local landowners to protect these cave sites, as well as the forests that surround them, so that the cultural heritage and wildlife depicted in the drawings are preserved for future generations.”

The drawings are the subject of a recently published study by archeologists Rodrigo Luis Simas de Aguiar and Keny Marques Lima in the journal Revista Clio Arqueológica (see link). The diversity of the renderings, according to the authors, adds significantly to our knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal.

8 thoughts on “Peccaries help to discover Brazilian prehistoric art

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