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Secret Ingredient Allowed Inca Culture...Llama Dung

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The secret ingredient that allowed Inca culture to thrive in the inhospitable Andes has been uncovered: Ilama dung.


7:02AM BST 23 May 2011


Research has found that manure from llama herds provided fertiliser which enabled corn to be cultivated at very high altitudes – a key component in the success of Inca civilisation.

The agricultural breakthrough, which took place 2700 years ago, planted the seeds for the dominance of the Incas, according to Alex Chepstow-Lusty, of the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima.

“This widespread shift to agriculture and societal development was only possible with an extra ingredient – organic fertilisers on a vast scale,” he said.

“Cereals make civilisations.”

The study was published in the latest edition of the journal Antiquity.

IIt revealed that cultivating corn in the Andes reduced dependence on quinoa and boosted calorie intake, the Guardian reports.

Corn was introduced to South America about 5,000 years ago but did not reach the Andes until humans enriched the soil with help from llama herds. The Incas would have gathered up the dung and used it to fertilise their fields.

The Incas also used llama manure as fuel to cook and make ceramics.

In July the world will celebrate the “discovery” of Macchu Picchu, the most famous Inca city.



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The Incas also used llama manure as fuel to cook and make ceramics.





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A llama and cub Photo: ALAMY


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