Monday, June 27, 2011

The Serra da Capivara

This creature is a capybara, the largest rodent in the world.
The females, larger than the males, can measure up to 130 centimeters (4.3 ft)  in length and weigh as much as  65 kg (140 lb).

Capybaras are abundant throughout Brazil and have been for many thousands of years.
They’re reputed to be quite tasty, with a meat not unlike pork.

But this post isn’t really about capybaras,
It’s about the Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara  (Capybara Mountain Range National Park).

The park named after the mountains, named after the capybaras that once lived there, is located in the  northeastern State of Piaui.

And it’s there, where that little green dot is located, that you will find the vestiges of the largest concentration of prehistoric small farms in all of the Americas (North, Central and South).

And a remarkable collection of rock paintings, some of which were created more than 14,000 years ago.

There are four main cultural themes.


Sexual Practices.


Rituals performed around a tree.

and animals.

There is also quite a bit of entirely incomprehensible iconography, like human bodies heaped on a pyramid.

The paintings of the Serra da Capivara are neither as old, nor as beautiful as those of Lascaux:

or Altamira:

But their great age makes them pretty impressive, all the same.

Leighton - Monday


  1. Gorgeous cave paintings! And those Capybaras are rather cute even though they look a bit miffed.

  2. I'm all for great age making anything impressive!

  3. "Rodent" translates to "rat" in my vocabulary so I almost didn't make it down the page to the cave paintings.

    It is always a good thing to be reminded that, no matter when, the human spirit celebrates the same things. A successful hunt, a dance, a relationship, and, in some places, a funeral is a formidable connection throughout history.

    Men get impressive when they get old. Women just get old.

  4. Love the cave paintings that are 14,000 years old. I so wish I were there to see them. This stuff amazes me. What are the people telling us? What concerns them? Marvelous stuff.

    Now the capybaras are cute, even if they're big you know whats. I have known about them, and I'd rather they live in Brazil than here in The Big Apple. Can you imagine a capybara family taking an evening stroll across 42nd Street?

    And the thought of eating these fine animals meets here with a "no." They're animals for the wild not for capybara stew.

    1. " I'd rather they live in Brazil than here in The Big Apple "

      what a silly coment

      You won't find capybaras crossing Sao Paulo avenues either ... and Sao Paulo is bigger than The Big Apple.

    2. As an emeritus MIE blogger, I'll reply to Anonymous and say what a rude (and obtuse) reaction. Or did you think that kathy (who signs her posts, did you notice that?) was being literal? And even if she were, who requested the value judgment?

    3. You are quite wrong, you will find capybaras on the streets of São Paulo, and unfortunately they often get hit by recklessly driven cars. You'll also find them in parks in the city.

      Having spent several years in close/intimate contact with capybaras but have to say they are the most enchanting animals, exceptionally gregarious and affectionate