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Print version ISSN 0073-3407On-line version ISSN 1850-4884


GUERRERO MARTINEZ, Fernando. Etno-ornitología maya tojolabal: orígenes, cantos y presagios de las aves. Hornero [online]. 2017, vol.32, n.1, pp.179-192. ISSN 0073-3407.

Birds represent one of the most relevant animal group in the Mayan worldview, from pre-Columbian times to the present. The objective of this work is to analyze various Mayan Tojolabal conceptions about the creation myths of some birds, the knowledge about their songs and their connection with signs and omens as a form of divination and relationship with the environment. The fieldwork was carried out in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico. Ethnographic and ethnobiological methods were used that included participant observations, open and semistructured interviews, as well as ethnobiological walks. Some of the origin myths of bird species are closely related to their biological characteristics, as well as to the abilities that are assigned to them culturally to announce specific events. These signs are given to a greater extent through the different types of bird songs, which is recognized accurately by the inhabitants even at linguistic level. Specific terms were found in the Tojol-ab’al language to designate particular bird songs that are linked with omens. Tojolabal knowledge about birds is complex and imbricates different themes of their worldview, in which the avifauna maintains a relevant place.

Keywords : Chiapas; Communication; Ethno-ornithology; Mythology; Ontology; Signs; Sounds; Tojolabal.

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