One of the most bewildering discoveries about Ancient Egypt has been uncovered recently, when a team of archaeologists were surveying a complex of tombs in the Beni Hassan cemetery that was uncovered a century before.

One wall painting depicted an Egyptian hunter holding a leash attached to a mongoose. Speaking to Live Science, the researchers said that no other painting in Egypt has the same depiction. Other rare animals previously not known to have lived in Egypt were also depicted.

Linda Evans, a senior lecturer from Macquarie University in Australia, claimed that the mongooses were most likely not fully domesticated, yet still kept as pets for controlling pests such as snakes and small rodents. They may have also been used in hunting to scare birds out of bushes to make it easier for hunters to catch them.

Other rare and fascinating findings were a pelican, that still managed to retain some of its colours after 4000 years, bats, and several species of birds. Researchers noted the unusually high number of bird drawings in the area. Some have speculated that it may have been a major stopover for migrating birds. Due to the species depicted not being common in Egypt today, Evans theorised that the climate in Ancient Egypt may have been much cooler.

Photo: Linda Evans/Australian Center for Egyptology, Macquarie University, Sydney.