for National Geographic News
The Amazon River, not the Nile, is the longest in the world, a team of Brazilian scientists claims.
The scientists claim to have traced the river's source to a snow-capped mountain in southern Peru, adding a new twist in the swirling debate over the longest river label.
(See a map of the region.)
The Amazon is considered the world's largest river by volume, but scientists have believed it is slightly shorter than Africa's Nile.
The Brazilian scientists' 14-day expedition extended the Amazon's length by about 176 miles (284 kilometers), making it 65 miles (105 kilometers) longer than the Nile.
According to the team's results, which have not been published, the Amazon is 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers) long. The Nile stretches 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometers).
(See related: "Amazon River Once Flowed the Other Way, Study Says" [October 25, 2006].)
"Today, we can consider the Amazon the longest river in the world," study author Guido Gelli, director of science at the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, told London's Telegraph newspaper.
The Amazon and the Nile have been at the center of a centuries-old rivalry over the "world's longest" title.
In the 20th century, consensus gave the title to the Nile.
Determining the length of a river is tricky because scientists have to pinpoint both where the river begins and ends, Andrew Johnston, a geographer at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic News.
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