Page 230. " some Maximalists "

The Maximalists were a group of Bolsheviks who formed a separate Union of Socialist Revolutionaries in 1906, although sometimes the term is incorrectly used to describe all Bolsheviks (Étienne Antonelli, Bolshevik Russia, tr. by Charles A. Carroll, published by A.A. Knopf, 1920: "the term "Maximalist" rather widely used as a translation for "Bolshevik" is historically false." p.307).

Page 236. " Viñas Ibarra at Río Coyle "

Ibarra was one of the leaders of the repression of Antonio Soto and the Anarchist Rebellion.

Page 239. " steel chairs by Mies van der Rohe "

Mies van der Rohe Chair
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMies van der Rohe Chair - Credit: vicens, Wikimedia
His biographer Nicholas Shakespeare cites the Mies van der Rohe chairs as being one of Chatwin's 'errors,' although on this occasion the error appears to be deliberate. According to Shakespeare, Chatwin admitted to the author Michael Ignatieff that the chairs were ordinary stainless steel; this was, Shakepeare generously concludes, one of the 'examples of his romanticism.'

Page 242. " the Megatherium "
Public DomainMegatherium - Credit: Heinrich Harder

Like the Mylodon, the Megatherium lived until approximately 10,000 years ago. A ground sloth the size of an African bull elephant, it is thought to have been a herbivore, standing on its hind legs to reach leaves.

But the BBC documentary Walking With Beasts claims it was also a scavenger.

Page 242. " Cuvier's generation "

   Georges Cuvier was a prominent French naturalist and expert paleontologist who wrote hundreds of papers based on his examination of fossils in the early nineteenth century. It was Cuvier who first proposed the idea that a catastrophe had made extinct many of the creatures he and his peers were investigating at the time.

Page 242. " Goethe worked it into an essay "

As well as being a revered poet, novelist and playwright, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a man of science who could count amongst his achievements the introduction of the concept of morphology (the study of the form and structure of an organism) and the discovery of the intermaxillary bone in the human jaw; this provided a link to primate anatomy crucial to later studies in evolution.

Page 243. " there were five contenders "
a Pangolin
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA Giant Pangolin - Credit: Marc Eschenlohr

Chatwin lists the mythical creatures that folklore suggests survived the Ice Age: the Yemische, the Succurath, the Yaquarũ, the Elengassen and the huge animal 'resembling a Giant Pangolin.' Although Ameghino failed to produce his Yemische the myths continue to intrigue. In 2006 Josh Bernstein of the Royal Geographical Society conducted his own journey to Patagonia to discover the story of the Mylodon - and its relationship to these ancient myths - in his documentary The Giants of Patagonia.

The Giant Pangolin, which does exist, is a scaly anteater native to Africa.

Page 245. " moa feathers from New Zealand "
Moa bird
Public DomainMoa bird - Credit: Heinrich Harder

A flightless bird native to New Zealand, the Moa is believed to have been wiped out by about 1280, after the arrival of the Maoris. They were once thought to be relatives of the kiwi, but were later determined to be related to the emu and cassowary. However, new research now suggests they evolved from a South American bird called the tinamou and flew to New Zealand before losing their ability to fly. Like the Mylodon they often went into caves to die and the first fossils of their well-preserved feathers, along with bones, were discovered in the late 1830s. 

Page 245. " Pallass's woolly rhinoceros "
Peter Simon Pallass was a German botanist who became a professor at St Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1768. He led an expedition across the Urals and through Siberia as far as Lake Baikal, the world's largest and oldest (at 25 million years) freshwater lake. Pallass found many animal specimens on his journey, which he took back to St Petersburg.

Yakutia is now known as the Sakha Republic and is located on the north-eastern corner of Siberia.

Page 245. " Through The Heart of Patagonia "
Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard
Public DomainHesketh Hesketh-Prichard - Credit: Open Library

Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard was a friend of J.M.Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle and sometimes wrote, with his mother, under the pseudonym H. Heron. She also frequently accompanied him on his travels and before he received the Patagonia commission they had ventured to the Carribean. Mrs Hesketh-Prichard remained in Jamaica whilst her son became one of the first white men to travel through Haiti, providing the first written account of voodoo. There is a full transcript of Through The Heart of Patagonia available online; a shorter account of his search for the Mylodon was published in the New York Times in December 1902.


Page 245. " the Dawn Horse "
The Dawn Horse
Public DomainThe Dawn Horse - Credit: Heinrich Harder

Remains of the 'Dawn Horse' (Eohippus or Hyracotherium) were first found in England by Richard Owen in 1841, but a full skeleton wasn't discovered until 1876, in North America. Owen believed it was a relative of the hyrax, due to its large incisors, and estimated its origin in the early Tertiary period, approximately 60-45 million years ago. It stood about 20cm high and 60cm long.

Page 247. " Sven Hedin "

As a child Hedin had witnessed the return of Erland Nordenskjöld from the Arctic and it inspired him to travel. He journeyed through Persia, the Pamir Mountains, Tibet and India, drove a car through Mongolia, and rode the Trans Siberian Express. He wrote many books and documents of his adventures. 

The Expeditions of Sven Hedin
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Expeditions of Sven Hedin - Credit: Sven Hedin Foundation
Page 247. " Explotadora "

Public DomainExplotadora - Credit: Antonio Quintana
The Explotadora (Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego) was the largest sheep ranch in Tierra del Fuego from 1893 until the 1970s.