Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Index – Science Technology – Mummified mice found on the peaks of the Andes

Index – Science Technology – Mummified mice found on the peaks of the Andes

Archaeologists found 13 mummified mice in the Andes, at an altitude of 6,000 metres. Although Antarctica and Greenland are closer to the Martian environment in terms of temperature, due to extreme drought, frost, harsh winds and lack of oxygen, the peaks of the Andes are among the closest analogues to the Red Planet – despite this, mammals also live in this environment .

Climbers do not spend more than a day in this area, so until recently, science did not even assume that it could be a permanent habitat for the animals. The first refutation of this was found by Jay Storrs, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, when he caught a live specimen of the yellow-backed leaf-eared mouse on the summit of the Llullaillaco volcano, at an altitude of 6,700 metres. .

Stowers was certainly hard pressed to prove that it was not just a stray mouse that had ended up in this desolate area in the pocket of his backpack. The researcher has now found more than ten mice in the mountains. Four of them were determined by carbon isotope dating to have died about 350 years ago, the last of which left its teeth sometime after 1955.

Genetic testing determined that the rats were identical to their counterparts in the Atacama Desert, and that they had arrived on the mountain with Inca pilgrims seeking high-altitude sacred sites, rather than on their own. The equal proportion of males and females among the mummies indicates that animals lived here, so they did not come as pilgrims themselves.

Rats already live in harsh environments at the foot of volcanoes, and even more so at their summits. It’s like outer space

– noted Storz, who believes that the harsh conditions have the great advantage that natural predators no longer hunt mice here.

(IFL Science, Teach daily)