Excerpt from the story:
Popular history, and a familiar rhyme about Christopher Columbus, holds that Europeans made contact with the Americas in 1492, with some arguing that the explorer and his crew were the first outsiders to reach the New World.
But chicken bones recently unearthed on the coast of Chile--dating prior to Columbus' "discovery" of America and resembling the DNA of a fowl species native to Polynesia--may challenge that notion, researchers say.
"Chickens could not have gotten to South America on their own--they had to be taken by humans," said anthropologist Lisa Matisoo-Smith from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Polynesians made contact with the west coast of South America as much as a century before any Spanish conquistadors, her findings imply. . . .
"There is increasing evidence of multiple contacts [of pre-Columbian Polynesians] with the Americas," she said, "based on linguistic evidence and similarities in fish hook styles." Physical evidence of human DNA from Polynesia has yet to be found in South America, she added. [Emphasis mine.]