River of Doubt

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Synopsis

From 2014–2015, Marc André Meyers embarked on a thousand-kilometer expedition on the Parecis Plateau and down the River of Doubt in Brazil, accompanied by two Brazilian military officers, Cols. Hiram and Angonese, and by Jeffrey Lehmann. Their route retraced the steps of Teddy Roosevelt and Rondon a century earlier. Meyers’s objectives in this book are fourfold: to present a travelogue of his journey, to recount the history of the Roosevelt-Rondon expedition, to relate descriptions made by the members of the original exploration to demonstrate how the region has been changed by a century of human presence, and to study the wildlife along the river.

Using mules for transportation on land and two kayaks and a canoe on the river, the author, two Brazilian colonels (Roosevelt and his partner, Rondon, were also both colonels) and Jeffrey Lehmann journeyed through the territories of the Parecis, Cinta Larga, and Nambikwara Indians, populations that have been forever altered by their interaction with outsiders who encroached on their land. In gathering specimens, Meyers and his team focused on using modern scientific tools to study the structure-property relationships of wildlife, including piranhas, arapaimas, toucans, and curassows. The researchers were interested in the structure of these biological specimens all the way from the nano to the mesolevel, including their scales and beaks, and how they might inspire manmade compounds and structures.