The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






American Aborigine

The American Aborigines are a hypothetical group of people, originally from Oceania, who crossed the Pacific Ocean and arrived in South America long before the ancestors of today's American Indian peoples came there. The American Aborigines are claimed to have overspread much of South America before being nearly exterminated by the invaders coming from the north.

The first hint of an American Aborigine settlement of South America came from cave paintings in Brazil. The paintings, which predated the supposed date of settlement of the area, depict rituals never before seen in native American art. Somewhat later paintings from the same area depict war and violence, and then the paintings cease.

The rites shown in the paintings, involving elaborate costumes, are still performed by Australian Aborigines today. Similar rites existed in the traditions of the natives of Tierra del Fuego until the Fuegians almost ceased to exist as a people in the 20th century. The Fuegians are believed to be the product of intermarriage between American Aborigines and American Indians - the last surviving descendants of the Aboriginal settlers. Physiological evidence of Aborigines has also been found.

More solid evidence was found in the 1970s by anthropologist Anette Laming-Emperaire . In limestone caves of Lagoa Santa region in central Brazil, she unearthed the skeleton of a 20-year old, 1.50 m tall woman; but she passed away before she had a chance to study it. Some 20 years later, Walter Neves found the skull in the Quinta da Boa Vista National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, and found that its measurements were quite different from those of the later Mongoloid Indians, and more similar to those of Australian Aborigines, Africans, and Negritos. This find, dated between 10,500 and 9,500 BC, was greeeted with much skepticism by the anthropological community. However, the find was eventually confirmed by remains of over 70 individuals with similar characteristics were found in that same region.

Another boost to the theory came when anthropologist Rolando González-José demonstrated that the Pericu Indians — a tribe that lived in Baja California Sur until the 16th century, and whose "anomalous" anatomy had already been observed — were quantitatively more similar to the Lagoa Santa finds than to any other group tested, and both were closer to the Australian Aborigenes and Africans than to the Siberians.

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Last updated: 05-07-2005 16:29:38
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04