GIANT HOMINID of South America.
Etymology: The size of these animals caused
explorer Ferdinand Magellan to name them
Patagónes (Portuguese, “big foot”) and their
Variant name: Chaucahue (possibly Huilliche/
Physical description: Height said to be 7–12
Behavior: Nomadic, following the wild herds
of Guanaco (Lama guanicoe), their primary
source of food.
Distribution: Southern Argentina and Chile.
Significant sightings: In June 1520, the expedition
of Ferdinand Magellan encountered giant
Indians at Puerto San Julián, Santa Cruz
In June 1578, Francis Drake’s men brawled
with the Puerto San Julián Indians, noting they
were not as tall as Magellan’s chronicler had indicated.
Sebald de Weert in 1598, Joris van Spilbergen
and Wilhelm Schouten in 1615, John
Byron in 1764, and other visitors also encountered
Indians of large stature.
Probable explanation: The Tehuelche Indians,
whose height was exaggerated by clothing and
long hair. In 1983, the last thirty or so remaining
Tehuelche lived on a small reserve at Camashu
Aike, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.