That's part of the tragedy of the Diaguita tribe which lived in what is today northwestern Argentina in the 15th century.
In their city of Quilmes near Cafayete, they resisted the Inca empire which spread from Peru through the Andes, though they later accepted a certain co-existence in return for technologies such as irrigation which the invaders brought. In the Inca decline, the Spanish invaders became their next enemy, and for 130 years they fought against subjugation, eventually being defeated.
As the history goes, the Diaguitans then decided on a form of collective deliberate extinction, by vowing not to have any more children. I recently stood on the outcrop above the ruins of their city from where it is said they killed any babies which happened to be born despite their extinction effort.
In the end, the population of the city had reduced by two thirds to some 2,000 people. At that point they left Quilmes, one group heading for Cordoba, the other for Buenas Aires, some 1,500 kilometres away. Many hundreds died on the way, and the settlement where the Spanish rulers effectively put them on a 'reservation' was eventually abandoned, as it had become a ghost town.
Today that settlement is also known as Quilmes, but is famous only because Argentina's best-selling beer of the same name comes from there.
Hearing that very strong story made my visit to ancient Quilmes a very thought-provoking one. Looking down over the excavated ruins spread below that outcrop, I could almost feel the sense of hopeless determination amongst a people who had once been the masters of the Calchaqui Valley.
That visit to Quilmes was a side-track to a Land Rover drive up to the highest national road in the Americas passable by car, and then only a few months of the year without using a 4WD vehicle. At some 5,000 metres the Abra del Acay is higher than Mont Blanc.
It was billed as 'The Road to the Clouds'. We didn't have any clouds, though, they aren't due until around the end of the year.
It was an amazing journey not just to see the capability of the Discovery 3 in its element, but to traverse an area where the people today are a mix of many races.
The Terrain Response system inaugurated in Discovery 3 when it was first launched proved to be a big help in negotiating the boulder-strewn riverbed, and along the sandy sections worn out on the river's bends.
Out of the river, the journey was most of the time a very dusty affair, as even when on the main roads of the region we were generally on dirt and rubble surfaces.
These were when the radio systems used while travelling in the short convoys proved their usefulness. The lead vehicle could warn of approaching vehicles or pedestrians which otherwise would have been invisible in the dust. On the narrower sections, sometimes with scary sheer drops on one side, this also provided the opportunity to find a slightly wider stretch of road by which the opposing vehicles could pass.
The Discovery 3 2.7 litre engines were designed to operate efficiently at up to around 3,500 metres and it was interesting to see what effects the thin air and steep gradients caused on the 'Road to the Clouds' odyssey.
There was a noticeable fall-off in power as we climbed to the higher levels. And the turbocharger would spin faster than usual trying to develop enough pressure to do its thing. But though pickup was diminished especially when trying to redevelop momentum after negotiating a slow uphill hairpin, at no stage did the cars let us down.
But back home, I'm not thinking about the cars so much. What I can't get out of my mind is the thought of those children thrown from the rocky outcrop over Quilmes.
I'm not judging the Diaguitans for slaughtering their babies. That's something they will have come to terms with themselves hundreds of years ago.
It's just the enormity of their decision of extinction that makes my small travels on this planet seem so relatively insignificant.
(This article was first published in Irish Car+Travel Magazine in 2007.)