Science: Landfall

The Kon-Tiki was doing all right. Last week, the men on the big log raft (modeled after an ancient Peruvian balsa) sighted the first land they had seen since leaving Callao, Peru, three months and 4,100 miles ago (TIME, April 21). It was the island of Puka Puka, easternmost atoll of the Tuamotu archipelago. To the six Scandinavian scientists on the Kon-Tiki, the smudge of land was proof of their theory that ancient, pre-Inca Indians might have traveled across the Pacific from Peru to Polynesia on big, homemade rafts, carried by the south equatorial current. Sailing on, as the Indians may...

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