Native Americans discovered the Falkland before the Europeans

amerindiens decouvert falkland avant europeens

The perspective on the history of the discovery of the Malvinas Islands (or the Falkland Islands) is reversed. A new study calls into question the traditional situation of an archipelago that was not explored before the arrival of Europeans based on circumstantial evidence, and suggests its prehistoric discovery by the marine inhabitants of the southern diarra del Fuego. Located 400 km from South America, the Falklands were officially discovered by Europeans in the 16th century without a trace of human activity, and then colonized from 1764 onwards.

The Yagans, a seafaring people south of Tyra del Fuego (the southernmost archipelago of the South American continent), migrated to the Falklands before the Europeans on one or more occasions in the 1400s. This is the latest study published on Wednesday in the journal Thunder Results Scientific advances.

In the wake of the renaissance of this theory, there are traces of a new circumstance in the direction of prehistoric human existence on the shores of this archipelago on the surface of the Île-de-France, which dates back to the 19th century. Two main islands and 750 land confetti.

Led by Kid Hamley of the University of Maine, the investigation focused on a specific site on the western Falklands, New Island, where a domestic projectile carved from local rock was discovered in 1979.

Falkland Geography
Location of the excavated site on New Island. © Scientific Advances / Hamley et al.

The surroundings of the site where the prehistoric missile was discovered revealed piles of marine animal bones and coal deposits, especially from 1400 to 1550, i.e. from 1400 to 1550, i.e. before and after the first non-colonial European explorations.

Especially revealing coal deposits

To compare the coal deposits of the New Island with the fossil fuels of the Falklands in general, which are said to be unexplored in their interior, the researchers isolated beet cores from New Island, 750 m above sea level – and Blacker Island. , An island where Darwin saw boats during his voyage aboard the Beagle in 1833, which he thought was derived from the Diera del Fuego by the Falklands Current, a cold current from the Dior del Fuego north of Argentina via the Falklands.

Verdict: Over 7000 years of sedimentary record, Flicker Island and Mount Osborne coal deposits are uniform and low, while deposits on New Island are multiplied by 100 and surpassed all pre-European deposits. , 1400 to 1550. Knowing that a significant increase in the intensity of the fire is characteristic of the arrival of man on a new island, it confirms the presence of boats by gliding on Flickr Island… But coming to the new island is very real!

Coal Falkland
The accumulation rate of sedimentary coal (number of coals per cm2 per year) according to the age of the sediments. The color is similar to the three locations where the beat cores were taken. © Scientific Advances / Hamley et al.

Manatee sea lion and rockhopper penguin hunting

Bone piles have been added to the coal, two of which range from 1275 to 1420. They are a strong source of wastage of human activity. Already, the accumulations of these bones have come from dozens of rockhopper penguins and their predators, the Mont Sea Lions – a contemporary association of predators and prey that seems irrelevant. In addition, the piles are located on sloping slopes, and their deposition does not appear to be consistent with the absence of depression at this location.

But how to explain the absence of butcher traces in the bones? This is where the authors’ hypothesis about the mysterious audience comes into play: they are the Yagans, the only sea people in the Diera del Fuego. These people preferred tools made of bone and tile, which could cut flesh, but they did not leave cut marks. The Yagans were the best sailors they knew on the islands of Diego Ramirez, 100 km south of Diera del Fuego. During their voyage, they took their families and fire (i.e., in the middle of their boat)… and their dogs!

Falklands Wolf
A Falklands Wolf. © Kane Flori / Otago Museum / Wikimedia Commons

Falkland’s wolf, an Argentine dingo?

The last circumstantial evidence inspired by the authors is the mystery of the only mammal on the islands, the Falklands Wolf (actually morphologically close to a fox), which disappeared in 1876. This core is the most interesting and undoubted behavior from the Europeans. For a long time isolated from humans on the island it has evolved or given rise to the idea that it came from half the domestic animals brought there by the Yagans!

In fact, they are known to live close to domesticated or semi-domesticated fangs, including the Yogan dog (the domesticated form of the Magellan fox today). Ducyon’s grandfather, The Falklands Wolf was its closest relative before its extinction.

Source: Scientific advances

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