Remains of a Spider Monkey Traded by Ancient Maya Elites Found in Mexico

Archaeologists working on the Plaza of Columns Complex site at Teotihuacán have made a surprising discovery in the ancient Maya capital: the remains of a 1,700-year-old spider monkey, which the archaeologists suspect was once a state gift between elites.

The Plaza of Columns sits between the Sun and Moon pyramids at Teotihuacán, the ancient seat of Mesoamerican power. As far as the urban planning of Teotihuacán goes, the plaza is prime real estate, and the objects found in the area are associated with Maya elites—perhaps even governing individuals.

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The monkey is a Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), or the black-handed spider monkey. Now endangered, the animal is not native to the high elevations of Teotihuacán.

The monkey’s remains were found alongside thousands of mural fragments and ceramic sherds, as well as the remains of several other animals: a golden eagle, several rattlesnakes, and snail artifacts. The research describing the simian find was published this…

This story appeared first on, 2022-11-23.
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