In 1947, Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl was a 33-year-old anthropologist and marine biologist who had recently finished a stint fighting in World War II (he served in the Free Norwegian Forces).

Coming out of such a major life experience, he was then able to devote his attention to a personal project that had been 10 years in the making. While working in Polynesia, he became convinced that the Incas of South America had reached islands there long before Asians migrated to them. Backing up his theory were two findings: Drawings of a Polynesian pineapple were discovered inside the ruins of an Inca temple, and the fact that the Incas had the means to build a raft that could sustain an 8,000-km journey across the Pacific Ocean (roughly the distance from Tokyo to Canberra).

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