Fernando de Magallanes took a break from his round-the-world voyage in 1520 to visit what is now Patagonia, where he encountered a giant on the beach. Giants in Patagonia is a well-documented case.
Magellan sent one of his men to establish contact with him (the emissary’s reaction would have to be seen, but unfortunately, it has been lost to history) so that they may exchange dances and songs and show their friendship. (In Patagonia, Giants)
It was successful. The guy successfully transported the behemoth to a little island off the shore, where the great captain awaited. During the day, Antonio Pigafetta, a scholar who recorded the journey diary that subsequently became Magellan’s Journey: the First Trip Around the World, recalled the sight.
“When he saw us, he was amazed and terrified, and he raised his finger in the conviction that we had come from heaven.” He was so tall that even the tallest among us couldn’t reach his waist, and he spoke with a deep, powerful voice.
Patagonia was previously populated by giants who dwarfed the heavenly Europeans who came to conquer them, as shown in the image above.
Maybe that wasn’t the best test. However, it’s possible that the Tehuelches, the people who discovered Magellan, were indeed big and that this narrative had some truth in reality.
Magellan made his soldiers feed the giant food and drink on that small island, then made the error of displaying him a mirror.
“The giant was horrified as soon as he saw himself,” Pigafetta recounted, “and sprang back, throwing four of our men to the ground.”
However, the explorers contacted the rest and even built a hut to store their supplies remaining on the coast.
After spending many weeks with the tribe, Magellan devised a strategy: he would capture two of them and transport them to Spain to put the giants he had discovered to the test.
“However, this must be done deftly, or otherwise the giants would have gotten our troops into difficulty.” Magellan provided them with a variety of metal items to occupy their time, such as mirrors, scissors, and bells, hoping that they would not mind being bound and chained.
“With which these giants were delighted to see these shackles, unsure of where they should be placed.” On the other hand, Magellan misplaced his proof on the long trek back to Spain. The giants didn’t make it.
But it was that story that Magellan and Pigafetta brought back and the new name for the land of the giants, Patagonia, whose origin is still a mystery. Because of the word “leg,” some claim it means “Land of the Big Feet.”
Primaleón was the name given to a race of wild people known as the Patagonians by Magellan, who most likely took the name from a popular novel. (In Patagonia, Giants)
Despite the British throwing cold water on the whole idea, Sir Francis Drake was able to contact the same Patagonians, according to his nephew in The World Encompassed, published in 1628:
Magellan was not completely deceived by the names given to these giants; they differ in stature, greatness, body strength, and the horror of their voices. However, they were not as monstrous and giant as depicted; some Englishmen were as tall as the tallest we could see, but the Spaniards did not believe that any English would come here to reprove them, so they were more willing to lie.
That was an open sore for academics, and properly so. According to William C. Sturtevant in his article Patagonian Giants and Baroness Hyde of Neuville’s Iroquois Drawings, the Tehuelches were simply a town of, notably, sculptural individuals.
Following Magellan’s expeditions, some people estimated Patagonia’s height to be as high as 3 meters, while others estimated it to be closer to 1.82 meters.
“When scientific reports began to surface, popular interest in the giants of Patagonia faded,” writes Sturtevant. “Some nineteenth-century estimations or individual measurements remain high,” higher than 2 meters.
However, improved measurements of the Tehuelche men revealed that they stood roughly 1.80 meters tall, which is entirely appropriate for a human but completely unsuitable for a giant.
“However, if we adopt the lowest (and least documented) of these mediums based on modern male measures,” he continues, “the Tehuelches are among the highest known populations globally.”
Male Europeans, such as Magellan, would have measured in the 1.5-meter range throughout the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. On the other hand, his imagination seemed to have outstripped his little height.
But why was there such a disparity in stature between Europeans and these “end-of-the-world” natives? Animals, including humans, develop faster in colder regions and slower in hotter climes.
Bergmann’s rule states that a big body loses less heat and is more adapted to survive temperatures below zero.
As a result, it’s no surprise that the world’s greatest terrestrial carnivores, such as the polar bear, reside in the extreme north. In contrast, tropical species, which lose heat more quickly, adapt better to the smothering jungles.
Environments may impose the same strain on humans over evolutionary time. As a result, the people of glacial Patagonia would have grown – in principle – faster than their European counterparts.
Skeptics believe that gigantism is likely the source of many of the accounts of giants in the Americas in a feeble attempt to explain things without actually examining the topic. Still, they have never given evidence to support this claim.
Gigantism is extremely uncommon. No incident numbers exist for this hormonal disorder. Only about 100 occurrences of gigantism have been documented in the United States’ history.
In truth, most tall people nowadays – those who exceed or approach 2 meters – do not have a huge disorder. On the other hand, the percentage of modern humans who reach the height of 2 meters is 0.000007%.
So, for example, how can you explain why the Smithsonian has 17 skeletons over 2 meters tall discovered in ancient burial mounds in a relatively limited region of North America by chance?