and Aztec Animal Trek
Caught You Looking!!
2000 sees Glasgow Zoopark hosting a live interactive exhibition
of the Animals of the Aztecs:
continent of South America lies in the Southern Hemisphere to the
south of North and Central America. It is roughly twice the size
of Europe, with a spine of mountains, the Andes, running from North
to South along its western edge. To the east of the Andes are great
plains - the Pampas - and tropical rain forests stretching across
to the shores of the South Atlantic. This enormous area through
the millennia has been home to hosts of native people, of which
the most famous are the Incas, Aztecs and Mayas.
Incas lived on the west coast of South America, from modern Chile
to Peru, and numbered about twelve million. Their technology was
highly developed and they were great road builders, although they
had no writing.
Aztecs, on the other hand, lived in what is now Mexico, in the bottom
tip of North America, and numbered about two million. Their great
empire was based on an advanced agriculture - with irrigation, land
reclamation and intensive cultivation. Perhaps their most famous
emperor is Montezuma II.
people domesticated a number of the native animals of which llamas
and cavies are the most famous. These combined with maize (corn
on the cob) and potatoes provided the mainstay of their agriculture.
Llamas were used for meat, wool and as beasts of burden. Cavies
were kept in social groups, often in large terracotta urns in the
huts, and used not as pets but for food. Both have been domesticated
for thousands of years, for so long in fact, that their ancestry
is no longer certain.
llama, for example, could be descended from an ancestor now extinct
or could be a domesticated - and colourful - form of the wild guanaco.
Llama, guanaco, alpaca, and vicuna are the four camelid (camel-like)
forms found in the New World which are closely related to the true
camels of the Old World - the Bactrian (two-humped) and the Arabian
(one-humped). None of the South American camelids is humped, though
all will interbreed with each other, producing fertile hybrids.
are probably descended from the cuis, a wild type of guinea pig,
though this is far from certain. Although a rodent, and filling
a similar ecological niche to a rabbit in the Old World, cavies
are very friendly, and vocal, quickly learning the footsteps of
the person looking after them and squeaking in chorus on his or
her approach. Although thoroughly domest-icated they are nervous,
jumpy little creatures despite their long domestication. They occur
in a wide range of colours, and hair types.
you can encounter include: