Fitzroy's fighting Fuegians: Comparison of palaeopathological and ethnographic indications of fighting behaviour in an extinct human population

Authors

  • S. Underdown

    Corresponding author
    1. Human Origins and Palaeoenvironmental Research Group (HOPE), Department of Anthropology & Geography, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
    • Human Origins and Palaeoenvironmental Research Group (HOPE), Department of Anthropology & Geography, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK.
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ABSTRACT

The Selk'nam were an indigenous population of Tierra del Fuego that are now extinct. Contemporary accounts, including those of Robert Fitzroy and Charles Darwin, attest to their prodigious size and strength. These accounts and others record that the Selk'nam were enthusiastic wrestlers and fought till one or other of the opponents could no longer continue. Presented here is a case of traumatic injury to the ulnae and radii of a Selk'nam male that is concomitant with injuries sustained during such activity and as such would provide intriguing evidence of this practice in the skeletal record of an extinct human population. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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