The figure of a relaxing cat has been discovered in the Nazca desert of Peru.
The Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to designs on Earth ̵
Researchers believe that the cat, as with other Nazca animal figures, was created by making depressions in the desert floor and leaving colored soil exposed.
The cat then went unnoticed until plans were recently drawn up for a new path leading to an observation platform.
The platform would have provided a vantage point for visitors to see many of the other geoglyphs.
In a statement, Peru’s Ministry of Culture said: “The figure was barely visible and was disappearing because it is located on a quite steep slope prone to the effects of natural erosion.”
It added that the geoglyph, which is about 37 meters long, has been cleaned and preserved over the past week.
Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the Nazca Lines, told the Efe news agency that the cat pre-dates the Nazca culture – which created most of the figures from 200 to 700 AD.
The cat, he said, was actually from the late Paracas era, which was from 500 BC. to 200 AD
“We know that by comparing iconographies,” he said. “Paracas fabrics, for example, show birds, cats and humans easily comparable to these geoglyphs.”