Polynesians might have discovered the Americas before Columbus

Published: Saturday 30 June 2007

Columbus may not have been the first to discover the Americas. Scientists have found evidence that the Polynesians landed in the Americas probably a century ahead of Columbus.

dna studies of some ancient chicken bones excavated from the El Arenal site in central Chile suggest that the Polynesians had actually landed in the continent in the early 1400s. The dates, of the chicken, fixed by carbon dating, roughly fit with when Polynesians would have reached the Americas, say researchers led by Alice Storey of the University of Auckland, New Zealand. They compared the chickens' dna with that of ancient fowl from archaeological sites across Polynesia and Southeast Asia. "Results show the chicken was from Polynesia, since it had genetic mutations not seen in chickens brought to the Americas by the Europeans. It is unlikely that the chickens would have made it across the Pacific Ocean," say researchers.

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