An ancient etching of a giant cat has been discovered in the Peruvian desert.
The 2,000-year-old discovery was made among the Nazca Lines – a Unesco World Heritage site – which are made up of hundreds of geometric images.
The images, known as geoglyphs consist of around 300 figures, including creatures and plants, that were scratched into the desert sands.
The 120ft-long feline had remained untouched for two millennia on a hill beside the Pan-American Highway stretching from Alaska to Argentina, the i reported.
The cat was uncovered during construction work to improve access to a viewing platform, archeologist Jhonny Isla told reporters.
The platform was intended as a vantage point for visitors to view the hundreds of other geoglyphs making up the Nazca Lines.
Mr Isla, Peru‘s chief archaeologist for the area, told Efe news agency that the cat pre-dates the Nazca culture which created most of the figures between 200 and 700 AD.
It is thought to date from around 200 to 100 BC.
“It might seem surprising that new designs are still being found, but we know there are more out there,” he told local press.
“In the last few years the use of drones, which enable us to take images of the sides of hills, makes that possible.”
In a statement, Peru’s culture ministry said: “The figure was scarcely visible and was about to disappear, because it’s situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion.”
It added that the vast drawing has been cleaned and conserved over the past week.
Source: Evening Standard