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Still Waters

Kangaroo in 400-year-old manuscript

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A 16th century manuscript featuring an image that looks like a kangaroo could prove that Portuguese explorers discovered Australia before the first recorded European landing in 1606.

http://www.telegraph...an-history.html

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Looks more like a wallaby to me.

Or maybe a bilby.

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Great find DM! I have long been attracted to the idea that other nations had contact with the the Australian continent long before recorded history. Pretty exciting stuff.

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Interesting find. It's also not the first.

Back in 1977, Kenneth McIntyre wrote a book called "The Secret Discovery of Australia" which also proposed a theory that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to find Australia, in the 1520s. The book has an illustration of a bizarre looking creature in a map title:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Speculum_Orbis_Terrae.jpg

In the bottom right corner is a creature which looks like it has the head of a camel, but it also appears to have a young creature in a pouch - a very clear sign of someone having seen a marsupial. McIntyre provided an amended version of the picture with a kangaroo's head in place of the camel head, and the effect is striking.

As for the underlying theory - that the Portuguese reached Australia decades before the Dutch - I'm willing to consider it, although the evidence is so thin as to be almost non-existent. I also find it hard to believe that the Portuguese didn't find a reason to exploit any part of Australia which they could claim under the Treaty of Tordesillas (roughly corresponding to West Australia).

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ANCIENT-KANGAROO_2792369b.jpg

Kind of looks like an armadillo in the face

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ANCIENT-KANGAROO_2792369b.jpg

Kind of looks like an armadillo in the face

Agreed, i think that bush is more of a plant,

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An aardvark for sure! Or a badly drawn rabbit?

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Lets look at it from a different angle.

pigpickflowers.gif

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I have seen several similar illustrations in Medieval bestiaries, and I believe that one is meant to represent a brown hare.

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Oh dear here we go again, So will the Portuguese try to claim Australia as their territory,the same as the Spanish are trying to claim Gibraltar and the Argies the Falklands.Just as well we (U.K) are friendly with the Portuguese or we might have another conflict to deal with. :su:st

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Well, the Aborigines first, obviously. Not that I'm terribly impressed with 'first settler' claims: human nature being what it is, the first settlers were probably booted off the land by the second settlers and so on, all long before the Europeans arrived for their turn in the crab-bucket.

Edited by PersonFromPorlock
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I have seen several similar illustrations in Medieval bestiaries, and I believe that one is meant to represent a brown hare.

Which seems more likely than the Deer mentioned in the article.

It looks a heck of a lot like a Roo without a tail, but why would an Australian Kangaroo feature as art on a text (or music) concerning liturgical procession?

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ANCIENT-KANGAROO_2792369b.jpg

Definitely looks like a kangaroo to me... as far as I'm concerned, compelling proof that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to see Australia.

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A 16th century manuscript featuring an image that looks like a kangaroo could prove that Portuguese explorers discovered Australia before the first recorded European landing in 1606.

http://www.telegraph...an-history.html

This is not new. It's known that ships from almost every European colonising country at some time, prior to the British, were in Australian waters. But none of them staked a realistic claim, and didn't hang around to develop what they'd found.

There have been finds of an old canon (I can't remembers if it was Spanish or Portugese) and coins, all of which predate the British.

There are also unconfirmed stories of the Vikings having reached the North East Coast of Australia-but they appear to be far fetched.

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