A few hundred "drawings" that were done at least 1500 years ago in the middle of the nowhere by "primitive" people, has kept modern day scientists and general public scratching their heads. More will be written here about why and how Nazca lines were drawn, but let us see the top ten Nazca line figures. If you would like, you can watch this video of top 10 Nazca figures below:
1. The Astronaut: This is the most controversial figure of all Nazca figures. Its unusually round head, goggle shaped eyes, boots and his index finger pointing to the sky has convinced millions that it is a depiction of an Alien Astronaut.
While a conventional archaeologists are certain that it is in fact a fisherman. They claim that he is holding a fishing net in one hand and you can even see a fish in the drawing. He is also called the "owl man" or the "bird man" by some.
How tall is this astronaut? The figure is 105 feet long! This Nazca line alone has created considerable amount of heated debate.
2. Whale: The Nazca people depended on fishing for their living, and their lives would have been dangerous whenever the whale appeared. Since fish was a an essential, everyday dish for Nazca people (see Peruvian Delicacies here), the whale is depicted with Nazca lines more than once.
This whale is shown with an open mouth, an eye, flippers and flukes (tail fins). This drawings seems to have been over written by Nazca people themselves, who have drawn thick rectangular lines over the whale.
3. Monkey: This monkey is approximately 180 feet long. His important feature is its tail. Why is this monkey's tail shaped as a spiral? Is it just for artistic value, or does it have some hidden meaning? The face of the monkey is devoid of any features like eyes or nose.
This Nazca figure is just an outline of the monkey. His limbs are well drawn with toes. There is one more curious feature. Between his hind leg and tail, there is another projection that seems to go down, almost from his anus. What is this supposed to mean?
4. Hummingbird: This is a pure beauty. Spanning over 164 feet long, the hummingbird sits at the center of a huge plateau. Unlike most other Nazca figures, the hummingbird seems to be a lonely geoglyph on that specific plateau.
Its long, narrow beak, wings and tail are all drawn magnificently by lines with curved edges.
Being the only bird that can fly backwards, the Nazca figure seems to give credit to this unique bird.
5. Spider Or An Ant? It's head with 2 biting mandibles and a narrow torso clearly depict an ant. After all, spiders do not have a narrow middle section and do not have jaws like that. However, this figure has 8 legs like a spider, not 6 legs like an ant.
So what the heck is this? An ant or a spider? A hybrid of an Ant and Spider? These insects are called "Ant-mimicking spiders" and are actually spiders. They mimic ants to escape predators or to aggressive hunting. It is so interesting that a culture of 1500 years ago drew these special type of insects. There are only about 100 known species of ant mimicking spiders on the world. We think that we discovered "Ant mimicry" less than a century ago. The so called "primitive" Nazca people depicted Ant mimicry at about 500 A.D. Not just a drawing on a pot or a vessel, but an impressive 151 feet long figure in the middle of Nazca desert.
A figure so big, that it makes no sense when you look at it from the ground level. Here is another unique feature of this drawing: This complex figure is drawn as one continuous line. There is also one more interesting, unexplained feature. One end of its hind legs, extends into a pair of open parallel lines. The meaning of this is unknown, but this feature is similar to the Nazca monkey. What do these protrusions mean?
6. Condor: Andean Condor is a special bird for the people of Peru with an amazing wingspan of over 10 feet. the condor symbolizes rebirth in the Inca Cross, and the Incas built a temple for the condor at Machu Picchu.
It is unknown whether the Nazca people shared similar beliefs about the condor. This Nazca figure is 446 feet long.
This figure has multiple irrelevant lines that cross through it, seemingly drawn at various times.
7. Parrot: Also thought of as a dragonfly, this figure is completely destroyed in the lower part.
The head and the wings are visible including the wattle or the comb, but human beings have definitely destroyed the latter half of the figure.
While nature has been so kind in preserving these drawing, we have been reckless and this is a sad reminder of being careless. Ancient Alien theorists have also claimed that this is proof of alien aircraft, as the wings are drawn as parallel rectangular structures, similar to modern day aircrafts.
8. Hands & Tree: These are two separate figures that have narrowly escaped the Peruvian highways. The tree has multiple branches and also has roots.
"The hands" is a mystery till date. It shows a pair of hands, one with 5 fingers and another with 4, but it is linked to a bird like figure.
Experts still don't agree on what this means and some even think of this as an alien tool or weapon.
9. Dog: Humorously referred to as the oldest dog in the world, the Nazca dog is one of the top 10 Nazca figures. It is approximately 164 feet long.
The dog has 4 legs, a head with an open mouth and an upright. This figure too has a pair of parallel lines protruding between the hind leg and tail.
10. Iguana: The iguana or Lizard drawn with Nazca lines has been cut right in the middle by the Peruvian highway. Sadly, they did not know the importance of Nazca lines when they built the highway.
This wonder has been damaged, but you can still see its head, 2 forelegs and a part of the torso. The entire figure is an impressive 590 feet long.
(Bonus ) Flamingo: Okay, here is one more I couldn't resist mentioning. This is one of the largest of the Nazca lines spanning over 935 feet in length.
This figure is also called the Alcatraz, Pelican or Phoenix. Its main feature is its long, zigzagged neck. The flamingo also has a pair of wings, impressive tail feathers and a pair of legs.
There are some more Nazca lines that are definitely worth looking into. I will post about them soon. While wandering in Nazca city, I also talked to the locals who shared local legends about Nazca lines. More updates are coming soon!