The illustration was penned by the Holy Roman Emperor's own hand.
Finnish researchers were poring through a Vatican-owned manuscript written by Emperor Frederick II in the 1240s when they discovered an illustration of the Australasian cockatoo. The presence of such an exotic bird in a European work has caused experts to rethink what they knew of medieval maritime trade routes.
The Guardian explains that while the exact species of cockatoo is unknown, it is either a sulphur-crested cockatoo, a yellow-crested cockatoo, or a Triton cockatoo. All of these birds would have only been found on the northern tip of Australia, New Guinea, or the islands surrounding New Guinea. No matter which type of cockatoo it is, its presence in the manuscript suggests that trade was flourishing in the Australian region as far back as the 13th century.