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Refutation of the Polynesian chicken bones in Chile

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posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 09:24 AM
In the June, 2007, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, bioarchaeologist Alice Storey of the University of Auckland (among others) announced that they had discovered some chicken bones in Chile that indicated a preColumbian contact betrween Polynesians and South America:

Some 50 chicken bones belonging to five chickens were recently recovered from the site of El Arenal-1, on Chile's Arauco Peninsula. The site is the first excavated settlement of the Andean people known as the Mapuche, who lived on the southern fringe of the Inca empire from about A.D. 1000 to 1500.

An international team including bioarchaeologist Alice Storey of the University of Auckland studied one of the El Arenal-1 chicken bones. They found that its DNA sequence was identical to chicken remains recovered from archaeological sites on the Polynesian islands of Tonga and American Samoa, according to a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Falling between A.D. 1321 and 1407, the chicken dates to the period when Easter Island and the other easternmost islands of Polynesia were being colonized.


Unfortunately for enthusiasts of PreColumbian contacts, it appears that these reports of too-old chicken bones from Polynesia were premature:

Scientists studying pre-Columbian chicken bones from a site in Chile said that its DNA matched that of Polynesian chickens rather than Spanish chickens. This appeared to clinch the argument that Polynesian voyagers had landed in America as much as two centuries before Columbus.

However, a new analysis of those chicken bones, published in the July 29 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that the Chilean chicken didn't come from Polynesia after all. Moreover, the bones aren't as old as the original investigators thought.

Jaime Gongora of the University of Sydney, Australia, and a number of colleagues looked at a larger sample of chickens and found that the DNA closely matched that of chickens present in Europe.

The radiocarbon date for the bones appeared to be older than it actually is because the chicken had eaten shellfish and shell grit that contaminated the bones with older carbon. The authors of the original report hadn't taken this contamination into account.

So the pre-Columbian Polynesian chicken in Chile is neither pre-Columbian nor Polynesian. Paraphrasing the great English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley: Another beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact.


The last line I quoted above says it all.

So, what are we left with here?

Merely the speculation that such contacts may have happened and a couple of questionable "artifacts" claimed by several "researchers" to portray Phoenician (and Sumerian) writing.

IOW, back to square one.


Edited to add second source H.

[edit on 10/3/2008 by Harte]

posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 09:09 PM
Of course there was pre columbian contact between SA and polynesians and easter island is the key to polynesian contact with SA.

The easter islanders were polynesian, and they traded with coastal cities in chile and peru.

The recent works by thor hyerdhal on the subjesct are very good.

In fact several years ago a new city was discovered by hyerdahl, on the coast of chile, that had carvings of a type found on easter island.
And the kicker is that if you put to sea from easter island at the right times of the year, the winds and currents will take you directly to the site of this city.
And thats how they found the city, he looked at maps of the currents and winds, and talked with the locals and found out that if you sail out from this area at the right time of year the you sail right to E Islandm and visa versa.
They focused their search on this area and sure enough they found a city buried in the dunes.

The other proof that there was early contact between polynesians and the people of SA is the sweet potato.
The sweet potato is native to the Andes, and yet it has been a staple of the polynesian diet for a very long time.
The information on the similarities between polynesian customs and those of certain NW native americans is VERY interesting.

There is a a japanese anthropologist that has drawn a like between the Ainu, some of the NW native american tribes, and polynesians.
With them having common roots way back.


more questions

posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 12:19 AM
Well, it was an interesting theory, but I'd always doubted the chicken bones were authentic, for two big reasons. One, chickens are damned useful. They eat anything, taste great, and crank out eggs regularly. Two, they breed. Oh boy do they breed. Rats with wings.

So we would have had this useful, domesticated bird being very present along the coast of south America and into the Inca empire, they would have been plentiful, and there would be a sizable feral population. None of these were the case.

Frankly if there had been pre-columbian chickens, we wouldn't have been surprised by the 2007 findings - they would have been discovered ages ago.

Still, I have no doubts that Polynesians landed at South America. We're talking about a people who's naval tradition was feeling the current of water from wave action on islands, with their feet. I imagine it'd be hard to miss an entire continent in this fashion (two, counting Australia)

So the question is, why didn't they settle? The simple answer is, both Western South America and Eastern Australia were densly populated already, and the Polynesians didn't have the disease advantage that Europeans would in later years.

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