About 1,700 years ago, a Mayan leader in Teotihuacan gifted a spider monkey to important people there. But later that monkey was taken to the south, where it was sacrificed in a very painful way. Recent research suggests that these sacrifices were made to strengthen the social and political ties between the two great civilizations.
Teotihuacan, a place on the outskirts of Mexico City, was the largest metropolis before Colombia. The city exercised military authority over Maya territory by the 378th century, although little is known about Teotihuacan-Maya relations prior to this.
This monkey was given as a gift
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Search According to, while digging in this city in 2018, archaeologists found the skeleton of a spider monkey. This discovery gives a lot of information about the civilizations of that era. It also shows that high leaders of the Maya civilization were invited to participate in civic functions.
Spider monkeys found in the jungles of southern Mexico and Guatemala are believed to be native to the Maya region. That’s why it was a surprise to find this monkey in Teotihuacan. The finding of such an animal on a sacrificial altar in a central-Mexican city suggests that it may have been a gift from a visiting diplomat.
Nava Sugiyama, author of the research
valuables found with monkey
The way this monkey was found, it clearly shows that cruelty was done to it. A golden eagle was also found with the remains of the monkey’s skeleton, which is still a symbol of Mexico. Many valuables were also kept with it. Artifacts made of conch and precious stones were present in these. More than 14,000 porcelain pieces associated with a large feast were also discovered, as well as a mural depicting a spider monkey.
the monkey was kept in captivity
Researchers say that we have closely inspected the skeleton of this monkey. This spider monkey was taken hostage. This monkey was a gift given to strengthen diplomatic relations between Teotihuacan and the Maya. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the animal was sacrificed between the 250th and 300th centuries.
The monkey’s hands were tied behind his back. This sacrifice is very similar to the animals that were sacrificed in the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. Many of these sacrifices were ritually performed to maintain the political structure of Teotihuacan.
Chilli was fed before the sacrifice
The monkey’s DNA was taken, its radiocarbon dating was done, as well as chemical dietary analysis was also done. Analyzing the teeth, the researchers reported that the animal ate mostly fruit in the wild, but was fed maize and chillies in captivity. Researchers believe that it was a monkey. At the time of death, this monkey must have been between 5 and 8 years old and was kept in captivity for about two years before being sacrificed. Researchers told that the monkey had suffered a lot in captivity. It had tried to bite continuously on the bars of its cage, due to which some of its teeth were also broken.
Ancient Bones Suggest Maya Befriended Neighbors With a Sacrificial Spider Monkey https://t.co/MAV2gs5U12
— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) November 23, 2022
The researchers compared this monkey with the famous pandas Ling-Ling and Hing-Hing, which were gifted to the US by China in 1972. These proved to be very influential in changing American perceptions about China. Research author Nawa Sugiyama says that this research helps us understand the principles of diplomacy. It helps to understand how urbanization developed and failed.