Aztec introduction of the great-tailed grackle in ancient Mesoamerica : formal defense of the Sahaguntine historical account

  • The historical account of Aztec Emperor Auitztol's introduction of the great-tailed grackle Quiscalus mexicanus into the Valley of Mexico (1486–1502) is significant because it documents human translocation of wild birds in Mexico over 500 years ago, before the Spanish Conquest of that land. In the present paper, which defends the account from writings that dispute it, I first review the evidence of how the account was obtained and show that its many details are consistent with what is known from other sources about both the great-tailed grackle and the Aztecs (Nahuas). I then review and examine all published criticisms of the account and explain in detail why they are wrong. The critics have to date presented no persuasive evidence to support their speculation that the Aztecs confused, or might have confused, a natural invasion for an introduction. In contrast to these critics, Bernardino de Sahagún’s research group in the 1500s presented a highly credible, peer-reviewed historical account that documented Aztec introduction of the great-tailed grackle. The pioneering work of these Renaissance Mexican scholars continues to stand as one of the most important records of invasive alien species introduction in ancient times.

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Author:Paul D. Haemig
Parent Title (English):22.2014, S. 59-75
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2014/07/31
Date of first Publication:2014/06/26
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2014/07/31
Tag:Ahuitzotl; IAS; Mexico; Quiscalus mexicanus; alien birds; archeobiota; cryptogenic birds; exotic birds; great-tailed grackle; introduced birds; invasive alien species; invasive birds; non-native birds; translocated birds
Page Number:17
First Page:59
Last Page:75
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:NeoBiota / NeoBiota 22
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0