Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Heyerdahl, Thor (1914–2002)
Thor Heyerdahl, noted explorer and author, was born in Larvik, Norway, on October 6, 1914. After studying zoology and geography at Oslo University, he married and traveled to Polynesia. After a period of familiarization with the island way of life and culture, the Heyerdahls chose a primitive lifestyle on a remote Pacific island, Fatu Hiva, in the Marquesas group. While there doing research on the transoceanic origins of the island's flora and fauna, Heyerdahl observed that the prevailing winds and currents came from the east, bringing with them many local plants that were unique to the American continent. As a result, Heyerdahl became convinced that because the oceans served as a natural means of transport that enabled people to move around the world, perhaps the first migrants to Polynesia might also have come from this same direction. Scientific opinion at the time maintained that it was an impossibility for early ...