Abandoned Pueblos are scattered throughout the southwestern U.S. And at many, archaeologists have a curious artifact: the skeletons of scarlet macaws. The birds’ bright red feathers are known to have been an important status symbol, a signifier of for people throughout the American tropics and the southwest, both in the ancient world and today. But macaws are a tropical bird, whose never extended north of today’s U.S.- Mexico border. So how did the Pueblo people obtain the birds? To examine the birds’ origin, scientists mitochondrial DNA found within macaw bones from two sites in New Mexico: Chaco Canyon and the Mimbres region. Turns out, three quarters of the birds had identical mitochondrial genome sequences–meaning the ancient birds came from the same maternal line. That suggests they were all the products of a operation, perhaps in modern-day northern Mexico, rather than a random collection of wild-caught birds.