By Amber WilliamsPosted 01.20.2012 at 11:03 am 5 Comments
Last August in Huanchaquito, a town on the arid northern coast of Peru, the winter winds uncovered six human skulls. A villager alerted Yale University archaeologist Oscar Gabriel Prieto Burmester to the find, and soon thereafter Burmester and his team had unearthed the ancient remains of 43 children and 76 llamas, and not a single adult—a sacrificial site. Preserved by the area’s dry climate, the 900-year-old mummies date to the age of the pre-Columbian Chimú culture.
Spitting, kicking and saving lives: all in a day's work for the lovable llama. Scientists have found that the uniquely small size of the llama's antibodies, used by the immune system to identify and counteract bacteria and viruses, could provide new and improved therapies for diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.