New evidence for pre-Columbian Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata from Ecuador
The archaeological record of the large lowland neotropical Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata, one of the few native animals known to have been domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples, is poorly known. Only a few specimens have been recovered in different cultural, temporal and depositional contexts from throughout the neotropics, and differentiating between wild and domesticated forms on the basis of osteological evidence has proved to be difficult. Archaeological specimens are mainly recorded from sites in western Panama and South America, including the western lowlands of Ecuador where two new locations are described and evaluated. It is suggested that at least some of these Ecuadorian specimens belong to domesticated forms, and that the cultural contexts in which they are found at archaeological sites suggest that prehispanic trade may have influenced their geographical distribution prior to the arrival of Europeans.
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