The historic heart of Stanley

G A L L E R Y

The Dale Evans Warrah

The remarkable story of the Evans Warrah became even more significant when radiocarbon dating indicated that one of the bones was approximately 1,000 years old – confirming that the warrah predates by centuries the human settlement of the Falkland Islands.

In January 2010, while spending the summer holiday on his family’s farm, local boy Dale Evans (then 13 years old) discovered an interesting bone on the ground. Being a natural history enthusiast since he was just three years old, Dale explored the site further and began to gather up the collection that now bears his name.

The blackened jaw and skull bones that had particularly taken Dale’s attention were sent by the Falklands Museum to the Natural History Museum London for identification and were confirmed as being from a warrah – the “Falklands wolf” – a species that has been extinct for more than 130 years.

Warrah remains are rare, with only six mounted specimens and a small amount of skeletal material known to exist. All these animals were collected by naturalists visiting the Islands during the 18th and 19th centuries. Until this discovery, no warrah remains were held in the Falklands.

The Evans family agreed that the warrah and other remains found by Dale should be held at the Museum where it has been displayed for all to see and appreciate.

Taking guidance from contacts at various British museums and organisations, the Museum & National Trust progressed slowly and carefully. The next step was for to arrange for a further examination of the site. Archaeologists, Dr Robert Philpott and Dr David Barker, who have been carrying out survey work for the M&NT since 1992, were brought to the Islands with the assistance of a grant from the Shackleton Scholarship Fund.  The area was thoroughly mapped, and a considerable quantity of material, including more bones and soil samples, were gathered for further examination.

Samples were sent to Beta Analytic Inc., the world’s largest professional radiocarbon dating service.

Two samples failed to yield collagen for testing, but the third was successful – the calibrated result giving a 95% probability that the animal died sometime between AD 890 and 1010 (a conventional radiocarbon age of 1100+/-30 BP).