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Did Polynesians Arrive From Peru? Thor Heyerdahl ´S Theory

870 words - 4 pages

“Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about,” Thor Heyerdahl once said and that is what happened to him. One day, he was wondering whether the Polynesians could have come from South America instead of Asia as was commonly thought by scientists then, and the next, he finds himself out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a wooden raft with five other men and a parrot trying to prove his hypothesis true. To prove that Polynesians could have originated from South America, Heyerdahl built and sailed across the Pacific Ocean on a man-made raft from South America to Polynesia.
Though there had already been a widely accepted theory on how the Polynesians had arrived in Polynesia, Thor Heyerdahl dared to test this theory, backed by his many years of research. Originally, it was thought that the Polynesians had arrived by canoe from Asia. This had been the accepted belief for years, so when Heyerdahl introduced his new theory into the world, it was thought by the scientists to be implausible. Heyerdahl hypothesized that the Polynesians arrived by a balsa wood raft from Peru. He believed the ancient civilizations had arrived from the coast of South America far before Columbus ever set foot there. Knut Haugland, a crew-member, recounted scientists’ doubts: “It was also argued that [a] low deck of an open raft would be unprotected in the high sea, and furthermore, that the balsa raft would dissolve as soon as the big logs started chafing on the rope lashing that held the craft together” ( It was also believed that the balsa wood would quickly absorb water and possibly sink before a minimum of days into sea. Seeing that scientists would not easily be moved, Heyerdahl had to work his hardest to try and prove his revolutionary theory correct. Despite the general skepticism, Heyerdahl created the theory from hard evidence he had collected over the years.
Gathering evidence from his travels, Heyerdahl was able to create a strong theory that supported his idea. While he was in the Marquesas Islands, he saw sculptures that resembled ones from the ancient civilization of South America. He then noticed that the ocean current and clouds were always drifting in the same direction all year round from South America to Polynesia. By this time, Heyerdahl was convinced that there was a connection. The Spaniards that...

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