Guinea Pigs Were Widespread as Elizabethan Pets

When Spanish conquistadors brought guinea pigs from South America to Europe, the tiny “curiosities” were bred as pets across a wide swath of Elizabethan societal classes, a new study suggests.

The evidence comes from a guinea pig skeleton discovered in 2007 in the backyard cellar of a former middle-class house in Mons, Belgium, once part of the Spanish Empire.

Radiocarbon dating of the bones revealed that this guinea pig lived between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries-very soon after the Spanish arrived in South America, said study leader Fabienne Pigi

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