Chicken bone rewrites history

Chickens discover America: New evidence indicates that Pacific Islanders brought chickens to Chile 100 years before Columbus.  Photo from Flickr.com by 2-Dog-Farm.
Chickens discover America: New evidence indicates that Pacific Islanders brought chickens to Chile 100 years before Columbus. Photo from Flickr.com by 2-Dog-Farm.

American Indians were the first people on this continent, having arrived here from Asia no later than about 10,000 BC. But over the years, they had some visitors. We all know the poem:

In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

And visitors to The Science Museum of Minnesota know that Vikings reached America some 500 years before that.

But now comes word of another possible visitor. Archaeologists digging along the southern coast of Chile have uncovered a chicken bone. No big deal, you might think. Except :

  1. chickens aren’t native to the Americas;
  2. chickens don’t swim, and they can’t fly very far. This bird did not get to Chile on its own—someone had to bring it; and
  3. the bone dates to the 1300s or early 1400s, well before Europeans started colonizing the New World.

What’s more startling, DNA recovered from the bone is more similar to that of chickens from Pacific islands than to those from Europe. The scientists who uncovered this bone consider this to be evidence that Polynesians visited America perhaps 200 years before Columbus did.

The Polynesians were the greatest seafaring people in history, colonizing virtually every inhabitable island from Madagascar to Hawaii. It’s entirely possible that they could have made the final leap to South America at the far eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean. However, scientists aren’t certain how long they stayed. While there is some evidence of cultural influence – Polynesian and Chilean fish hooks show some similarities – there is yet no evidence of Polynesians living permanently in South America.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Rangi W's picture
Rangi W says:

whats new? we have been telling Pakeha for centuries about our ancestral connections to South America and the journeys our ancestors udertook to get kumara. Our Maori knowledges are always regarded as mere legendary waffle until scientists prove it, well they're centuries behind our knowledge wave and look stupid and retarded. We have been telling Pakeha for years about our tradiional hand ball sports also, that William W. Ellis did not invent rugby, that the ideas on running rugby are Maori, played in our hand ball games of old and that the Brits simply mixed in Maori hand ball passing and catching and running with ball in hand with their own style of ball play which was just kicking the ball along the ground. Rugby happened practically overnight because of the Maori skills input and did not evolve over centuries.

Eurocentric histories need to be thoroughly reviewed, thay are seriously flawed.

posted on Sat, 06/09/2007 - 5:18pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Anybody can tell any story they like. But until there is evidence to support it, it's merely that -- a story.

posted on Sun, 06/10/2007 - 9:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

why do they have to come from the islands to mainland? coulndn't they have migrated from south america with the chicken to the islands.

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 4:51am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

No. Chickens are not native to the Western Hemisphere. There were no chickens anywhere in the Americas until someone brought them over.

posted on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 11:22am

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