DNA Research Shows Asian Farmers Peopled The Pacific Islands

3,000 year old skeletons from Vanuatu, Tonga show little to no Papuan DNA

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 4, 2016) – A professor from New Zealand's Massey University has proven farmers from Asia were the first people to settle in the Pacific, thousands of years ago.

The research, which has been published in the journal, Nature, comes from DNA extracted from 3000-year-old skeletons in Vanuatu and Tonga.

It refutes the belief that early Pacific settlers were of predominantly Papuan ancestry.

[PIR editor's note: On October 4, 2016 TVNZ reported that 'the research showed that ancient settlers had little to no Papuan ancestry, proving that the first people to reach Oceania were from Asian farming groups, with later movements bringing Papuan genes into the region. ... The other scenario was that farming groups moving out of Asia mixed with Papuans near New Guinea and created a mixed group with both ancestries, and the mixed group settling in the Pacific.']

One of the co-authors of the research, Professor Murray Cox, said the research could bring about health improvements for Maori and Pasifika people by helping scientists better understand their genetic makeup's.

"By understanding what genes they got from where and what those genes do we hope to have a better understanding of what is happening in these populations today and from that, better healthcare outcomes."

Radio New Zealand International
Copyright © 2016 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

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What about the Micronesian people - which race do they come under???

Were they parachuted to earth by aliens? The label "Asians" is hilariously misleading, and reflects the tendency to project onto migrants 3000 or so years ago the problematic ethnic labels of today, unfortunately. Terms like Asians, Micronesians, Polynesians, Melanesians or Papuans are all non-indigenous, and the small-scale migrations and interactions among ancient peoples in the Pacific were more complex than a single settlement site on Efate can fully describe anyway. "Melanesia," including New Guinea and neighboring island groups, was first settled over ten times earlier than the four skeletons at Teouma on Efate, and "Melanesians" had been voyaging in the Solomons and Vanuatu area for about 20,000 years before the "Asian farmers" arrived (who by the way were also sailors and navigators, and the highlanders of New Guinea had already developed farming 9000 years ago), but this story is very popular in New Caledonia, where the European settler population has long been trying de-indigenize the Kanak.

As problematic as these foreign terms are, the fact remains that about one-fourth of so-called "Polynesian" DNA is "Melanesian," and if there was not much mixing in the Lapita settlement at Teouma on Efate, when "Melanesians" had already arrived in the region long before them, as a longer version of this misleading announcement says in Nature magazine (October 2016), then where did such mixing occur? The Lapita makers or traders arrived in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa not that long after the Teouma settlement. Moreover, "Polynesians" also have some DNA from South America, which supports the idea of contact between them and Native Americans in the Ecuador/Peru area, as does the fact we know the sweet potato was first domesticated in that part of south America, and a recent find of "Polynesian" skeletal/skull evidence on a island off the coast of Chile (per a Nova program on PBS two days ago) suggests that voyaging may have gone both ways. So the small-scale ancient voyages in the "Pacific" (another foreign word) are complex, and "scholars" should perhaps avoid sweeping generalizations from one site.

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