Artificial Intelligence Aids In Identifying Humanoid-Shaped Nazca Line

Since 2006, researchers have been able to unveil a range of previously unknown geoglyphs (possibly numbering over 143, with 70 of them discovered after 2015). Much of it has been possible because of advanced aerial photography techniques and drone surveillance. Well, this time around, artificial intelligence has gotten into the mix, to identify a ‘new’ Nazca pattern – shaped like a curious-looking humanoid. The reveal was the fruit of the collaboration between researchers at the Yamagata University (many of whom were involved in the identification of Nazca geoglyphs since 2006) and IBM. 


According to scientists, this humanoid-shaped Nazca Line, exhibiting a rectangular head, presumably with a headdress, and a stick in one hand, is 13.1 ft (4 m) long and 6.6 ft (2 m) wide. But as is often the case with the historicity of these man-made etchings, the researchers are not sure about the role played by this humanoid (possibly a man in priestly garb) in the societal side of affairs. 

Talking of historicity, the major Nazca Lines – as we know today, were probably made by Nazca people between circa 200 AD – 500 AD. However, research conducted in 2018 also revealed how geoglyphs and etchings were made before this time period, by the contiguous Paracas and Topará cultures, from circa 500 BC to 200 AD. Additionally, it should be noted that historically the Paracas and Topará might have co-existed in a particular time period (by circa 1st century BC), in spite of the latter possibly being an ‘invading’ people from the northern parts of the region. The Nazca culture then held sway over the area, from circa 200 AD to 700 AD.

Finally, as for the role of artificial intelligence in this significant discovery, the AI was powered by IBM’s Watson Machine Learning Accelerator. The preliminary step in this process was to ‘feed’ the AI with numerous images of Nazca Lines – so as to make it familiar with the scope. After the adjustment period, the AI was ten tasked to process and sift through a massive number of aerial and satellite images as well as laser data from Lidar surveys to identify Nazca Lines that had never been reported before. 

Consequently, in this case, the AI was indeed able to locate a humanoid-shaped Nazca Line that was previously unknown to archaeologists. Furthermore, in the near future, the collaboration between Yamagata University and IBM will seek to employ state-of-the-art technologies, like PAIRS Geoscope (Physical Analytics Integrated Data Repository and Services) to assess more geographical areas in the Peruvian regions.

Source: Live Science

All Images Copyright of IBM.

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