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Ancient Egyptian drawing aged 4,600 reveals extinct goose species

An ancient painting reveals an extinct bird species, the electronic edition phys.org reported.
When Dr Anthony Romilio, a researcher from the University of Queensland, Australia, looked at an ancient Egyptian drawing at 4,600 years old last year, his gaze was drawn to the image of a speckled goose, BTA reported.

The strange, but beautiful bird does not look at all like modern red-faced geese, has bright plumage and spots on the body, face, wings and legs.

"The painting “The Geese of Maidum” has aroused admiration ever since its discovery in the nineteenth century. It was called the “Egyptian Mona Lisa,” Dr. Romilio said. He adds that no one has ever realised that it portrays an unknown species.

Dr Romilio stresses that no archaeological site in Egypt has been found bones of red-throated geese. “Curiously, bones of a similar but not identical bird were found on the island of Crete,” the scientist said.

"From the point of view of zoology, this work of Egyptian art is the only document of the existence of these geese, which appear to be a completely extinct species,” he adds. Dr Romilio stresses that extinct species of animals have previously been identified through ancient works of art, but the existence of not all species has been scientifically confirmed.

Egypt has not always in history been predominantly desert and has a rich history of biodiversity. “Ancient culture arose when the Sahara was green and covered with meadows, lakes and forests filled with various animals, most of which are depicted in tombs and temples. So far, science has confirmed the identity of a relatively small number of these species,” Dr. Romilio said.

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