Iraq Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

Giant Cat Geoglyph Found Near the Mysterious Nazca Lines

Giant Cat Geoglyph Found Near the Mysterious Nazca Lines


Experts have found a giant new cat geoglyph in Peru near the world-famous Nazca Lines. They identified the huge figure of the feline on a hill that overlooks the pre-Hispanic designs and features. The find can help experts to better understand the most famous geoglyphs in Latin America, if not the world.

A conservation management team discovered the cat geoglyph on a well-known hill in the coastal desert in southern Peru. It was found in the Nazca-Palpa Archaeological Park, some 200 miles (321.87 km) south of Lima. Jhonny Isla, leader of the conservation management system at the park, stated that the image was found during work to improve access to a visitor look-out point, enabling people to view the giant figures that make up the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines. These geoglyphs were made by people of the Palpa and Nazca cultures between 500 BC and 500 AD.

The cat geoglyph was found during work to improve access to a visitor look-out point. (Peruvian Ministry of Culture)

Unearthing the Giant Cat Geoglyph

During the conservation project, workers found lines that were “definitely not natural,” according to Mr. Isla. Sky News reports that the archaeologists found the huge design of a cat, ‘with the head drawn high up on the hill and looking straight ahead, the body and tail extended further down.’ The cat geoglyph is impressive, it measures 37 meters (121 ft), and the lines of the design are about 10 inches (25.4 cm) wide.

Peru’s Ministry of Culture states that “The design was hardly visible when it was first identified and was on the verge of disappearing because it was on a hill with a steep slope and was subject to the effects of natural erosion.” The management team cleaned away stones and debris to disclose the lines. In just over a week they were able to reveal the feline image for the first time in possibly centuries.

Art by a Mysterious Culture

Based on the design of the cat geoglyph, experts believe that that it dates to 200-300 BC. This was the period when the mysterious Palpa or Paracas culture began to create the designs in the desert. This society probably began the tradition of making the images and lines.

Based on the design of the cat geoglyph, experts believe that that it was made by the Palpa culture. (Prensa Libre)

The Nazca emerged from this culture and continued the tradition of making geoglyphs. The Peruvian Ministry of Culture website states that “Representations of felines of this type are common in the iconography of ceramics and textiles of the Palpa society.” The discovery of the giant cat geoglyph can help experts to better understand the earlier culture’s contribution to the Nazca Lines, which were only rediscovered in the early 20th century.

The mysterious Peruvian geoglyphs cover an area of 75,358.47 hectares and there are thousands of lines and images cut into the dry and sandy soil. They include depictions of animals, weird creatures, and human-like figures. There are also many geometric designs.

Earlier found geoglyphs including another cat. (National Geographic )

According to Andina, the glyphs have turned ‘the vast land into a highly symbolic, ritual and social-cultural landscape that remains until today.’ They are probably the most diverse and numerous glyphs to be found anywhere in the world and for this reason the area was awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.

Religious Purpose of the Nazca Lines

For centuries people of both the Nazca and Palpa culture made the glyphs for religious and ritual purposes. ‘They represent a remarkable manifestation of a common religion and social homogeneity that lasted a considerable period of time,’ reports Andina.

On the other hand, some have speculated that the Nazca Lines were made as part of irrigation schemes. In the past, some argued that because the glyphs can only be seen from the air, they are the work of aliens, but this had been discredited by experts.

Jhonny Islas stated that “it is likely there are even more designs out there waiting to be discovered.” A large number of geoglyphs have been found in recent years, including hundreds that have been identified by a team from Japan’s Yamagata University. New technologies and drones allow the vast and desolate desert to be surveyed and this means that more designs are coming to light.

Aerial view of the Nazca Lines Owlman (astronaut), Peru. ( Cezary Wojtkowski /Adobe Stock)

Aerial view of the Nazca Lines Owlman (astronaut), Peru. ( Cezary Wojtkowski /Adobe Stock)

The latest find could lead to an increase in tourists to the Nazca-Palpa Archaeological Park. However, many are increasingly anxious about the impact of erosion and pollution created by increased visitors to the Nazca Lines.

Top image: The cat geoglyph found near the world famous Nazca Lines. Source: Peruvian Ministry of Culture

By Ed Whelan



Its a Fake IMHO, possibly by a Local Banksy

Hi Ed,

I remember learning of the Nazca Lines from Unsolved Mysteries now that the Old Mystery program is running on T.V. again, I've had the exciting thrill of hearing something new each time the subject about the Nazca Lines comes up.

I guess all I have to say about this geo-Art good looking Cat. Wait is the Cats fangs exceptionally long? Because if so then that could be the Saber tooth Cat. If not that is a great looking Cat.

Thank you for sharing this article Ed until, next time Goodbye!

The Cat Figure was created by making a composition using an ancient form of depicted sign language. The Feline Imagery represents, the nocturnal Sun. She, the great huntress of the nighttime or darkness. The female is considered the better hunter probably due to having young to feed. She is also female because she is within the (under world) domain of the Female-earth rather than in the middle world where both genders exist. The sky was, of course considered, male. Thus Venus, perceived as, a star, was male.

The Mouth represents, a water source, stemming from the underworld. The source could be either a spring, places of moisture in a dry area, or water seepage between layers of rock on cliffs. The focus on water was because many ancient cultures based their cosmology on their knowledge of the water cycle – the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The lineages of the Sun (the daytime Sun, the great hunter of the daytime, and the Feline Sun were usually the elite of the culture, perhaps as the founders.

This above Feline Figure speaks to a phase of the ancient belief system where the deceased warriors and stewards of the Sun were buried and their spirits descended into the under-world where they were transformed in to female-spirits. These spirits were carried by the streams or currents of the underworld (depicted as Serpents) until finally arising once again at the surface of the middle-world. Here the spirits awaiting the arising Sun to drink up the water (evaporation) and the spirits within it to the sky and Venus (the final destination of Chieftains, and warrior-priests of the Sun). Their service to the Sun continued on in the afterlife where Venus was perceived as a kind of scout for the Sun (the Wolf-star) arising before the Sun in the east and after sunset in the west. In sign language the Left hand was was general considered to represent the east unless this was overridden by the actual cardinal directions.

The Finger points to the location of the spirit of a great one, a leader, so it is likely there was or is a spring or some water seepage at that location. Such sites were called centers and considered doorways between the underworld and the sky. Some centers, over time, became both a cosmological center and the center of the culture.

The Feline Figure is a great finding but unfortunately is in damaged condition. It most certainly contained more information in the past than can be translated at present. Color coded illustration available.

The cat looks more like a modern drawing to me and is not even similar in style to other Nazca drawings. 

Why has the cat only been discovered now as the pathway to the top of the lookout hill has been used for many years?

Who says that the lines are for relgious and ritual purposes? Is this not the standard answer to use when we have absolutely no answer as to why they exist?

May be not aliens but the creators most certainly had mastered flight. Or what else? Any suggestions?

Gillian Holmes's picture

Looks more like a fox to me.

Ed Whelan's picture


My name is Edward Whelan and I graduated with a PhD in history in 2008. Between 2010-2012 I worked in the Limerick City Archives. I have written a book and several peer reviewed journal articles. At present I am a... Read More

Next article