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Pacific Islandersí Ancestry Emerges in Genetic Study
NYT ^ | 1-18-08 | John Noble Wilford

Posted on 01/18/2008 6:57:04 AM PST by Dysart

The ancestral relationships of people living in the widely scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean, long a puzzle to anthropologists, may have been solved by a new genetic study, researchers reported Thursday.

In an analysis of the DNA of 1,000 individuals from 41 Pacific populations, an international team of scientists found strong evidence showing that Polynesians and Micronesians in the central and eastern islands had almost no genetic relationship to Melanesians, in the western islands like Papua New Guinea and the Bismarck and Solomons archipelagos.

The researchers also concluded that the genetic data showed that the Polynesians and Micronesians were most closely related to Taiwan Aborigines and East Asians. They said this supported the view that these migrating seafarers originated in Taiwan and coastal China at least 3,500 years ago.

The findings were described in the online journal Public Library of Science Genetics (www.plosgenetics.org) by researchers led by Jonathan S. Friedlaender, professor emeritus of biological anthropology at Temple University. He was assisted in the data analysis by his wife, Françoise R. Friedlaender, an independent researcher. Other participants included scientists in the islands and at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wis.

“Our analysis,” the scientists wrote, “indicates the ancestors of Polynesians moved through Melanesia relatively rapidly and only intermixed to a very modest degree with the indigenous populations there.”

Dr. Friedlaender of Temple said in an interview that the evidence was “substantial” and “solves a number of issues about the migration and settlement of Pacific people.”

In particular, he and other anthropologists not involved in the study said, the genetic research supported the “fast train” hypothesis.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: dna; genetics; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; melanesians; micronesians; pacificislanders; polynesians
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1 posted on 01/18/2008 6:57:06 AM PST by Dysart
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To: blam

You seen this yet?


2 posted on 01/18/2008 7:03:16 AM PST by Dysart
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To: Dysart; SunkenCiv
I was told when I was in Taiwan that Hawaiians actually came from Taiwan.
3 posted on 01/18/2008 7:13:17 AM PST by Perdogg (Huckabee got his foreign policy from IHOP, McCain got his immigration policy from The Waffle House)
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To: Dysart
The researchers also concluded that the genetic data showed that the Polynesians and Micronesians were most closely related to Taiwan Aborigines and East Asians. They said this supported the view that these migrating seafarers originated in Taiwan and coastal China at least 3,500 years ago.

Newsflash: dateline tommorrow ... China puts forth a claim that Polynesia and Micronesia are upstart provinces that were historically part of China and shall henceforth be known as "Polynesia, province of China" and "Micronesia, province of China." And the KittyHawk is warned to stay the heck away.

4 posted on 01/18/2008 7:15:57 AM PST by NonValueAdded (Fred Dalton Thompson for President)
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To: Dysart
"Dr. Kirch, who did not participate in the genetic study, said that it reinforced research showing that Polynesian speech patterns were unrelated to Melanesian languages, suggesting — along with discoveries of the distinctive Lapita pottery across the Pacific — links to Taiwan and China, not Melanesia. “The combination of evidence shows we really can read this history,” he said."

Melanesia means Black Islanders.

I believe most of the Polynesians are related to the Lapita people who I believe are/were the Jomon/Ainu people of Japan.

5 posted on 01/18/2008 7:19:26 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Dysart

I wonder what group the Taiwan aborigines belong to?

Perhaps the Ainu/beachcombers/Jomon that someone suggested, and not the present-day population of Taiwan?


6 posted on 01/18/2008 7:22:23 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: blam
Maori Men And Women From Different Homelands
7 posted on 01/18/2008 7:25:39 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: squarebarb
I wonder what group the Taiwan aborigines belong to?

Perhaps they were lost Mexicans looking for a new route to Texas.

8 posted on 01/18/2008 7:27:23 AM PST by TheRightGuy (ERROR CODE 018974523: Random Tagline Compiler Failure)
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To: squarebarb
New Lapita Find Re-dates Known Fiji Settlers (Jomon/Ainu)
9 posted on 01/18/2008 7:29:11 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Violence Is Blamed On 'Warrior Gene' In The Maoris
10 posted on 01/18/2008 7:36:08 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Thanks, Blam.


11 posted on 01/18/2008 8:25:00 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: Dysart
This is not as new as The New York Times is claiming. Maybe there is now more evidence, but I saw a book published a few years ago that already said that the Polynesians' ancestry was from Taiwan.
12 posted on 01/18/2008 8:43:36 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Dysart

I wonder why the article doesn’t mention the Polynesians of Madagascar?


13 posted on 01/18/2008 8:48:55 AM PST by Hawthorn
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To: Verginius Rufus
Article from 2005:

Polynesians came from Taiwan says new study

14 posted on 01/18/2008 8:52:44 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Dysart

bookBUMP


15 posted on 01/18/2008 10:19:06 AM PST by S.O.S121.500 (There is a reason your ancestors worshipped the sun.)
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To: Hawthorn
People Of Madagascar, Origin And History
(Vazimba)
16 posted on 01/18/2008 10:30:30 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Perdogg; blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
They were talking about golfers. ;') Thanks Perdogg.

Blam, does it seem like this has been a nice busy week? I pinged about four or five after I got home around midnight.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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17 posted on 01/18/2008 10:32:16 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv
"Blam, does it seem like this has been a nice busy week? I pinged about four or five after I got home around midnight."

Better. We're coming off a very slow post-holiday period.

18 posted on 01/18/2008 10:34:51 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: SunkenCiv; Dysart
Polynesians Have Little Genetic Relationship to Melanesians

A Lau blonde girl from Malaita, the largest island in the Solomons, which is part of Melanesia.

Newswise — The origins and current genetic relationships of Pacific Islanders have generated interest and controversy for many decades. Now, a new comprehensive genetic study of almost 1,000 individuals has revealed that Polynesians and Micronesians have almost no genetic relation to Melanesians, and that groups that live in the islands of Melanesia are remarkably diverse.

The study, “The Genetic Structure of Pacific Islanders,” is published in the January issue of PLoS Genetics (http://www.plosgenetics.org). It involved researchers from Temple, University of Maryland, Yale, Binghamton University, the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Victoria University in New Zealand, Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, and the Institute for Medical Research in Papua New Guinea.

The researchers analyzed more than 800 genetic markers (highly informative microsatellites) in nearly 1,000 individuals from 41 Pacific populations, as opposed to prior small-scale mitochondrial DNA or Y chromosome studies, which had produced conflicting results.

“The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago, when Neanderthals still roamed Europe,” says Jonathan Friedlaender, professor emeritus of anthropology at Temple and the study’s lead author. “These small groups were isolated and became extremely diverse during the following tens of thousands of years. Then, a little more than 3,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Polynesians and Micronesians, with their excellent sailing outrigger canoes, appeared in the islands of Melanesia, and during the following centuries settled the islands in the vast unknown regions of the central and eastern Pacific.

“Over the last 20 years there have been many hypotheses concerning where the ancestors of the Polynesians came from in Asia, how long it took them to develop their special seafaring abilities in Island Melanesia, and how much they interacted with the native Melanesian peoples there before they commenced their remarkable Diaspora across the unexplored islands in the Pacific,” he adds.

According to Friedlaender, one scenario called the ‘fast train hypothesis,’ which is supported by the mitochondrial evidence, suggests that ancestors of the Polynesians originated in Taiwan, moved through Indonesia to Island Melanesia, and then out into the unknown islands of the Pacific without having any significant contact with the Island Melanesians along the way. A counter argument called ‘slow boat hypothesis,’ which the Y chromosome evidence supports, suggests that the ancestors of the Polynesians were primarily Melanesians, and that there was very little Asian or Taiwanese influence. A third position, called the “entangled bank hypothesis,” suggests these ancient migrations simply can’t be accurately reconstructed by looking at the genetics of today’s populations, even in the context of the available archaeological evidence.

In their paper, the researchers state that their analysis is consistent with the scenario that the ancestors of Polynesians moved through Island Melanesia relatively rapidly and only intermixed to a very modest degree with the indigenous populations there.

“Our genetic analysis establishes that the Polynesians’ and Micronesians’ closest relationships are to Taiwan Aborigines and East Asians,” says Friedlaender. “Some groups in Island Melanesia who speak languages related to Polynesian, called Austronesian or Oceanic languages, do show a small Polynesian genetic contribution, but it is very minor – never more than 20 percent.

“There clearly was a lot of cultural and language influence that occurred, but the amount of genetic exchange between the groups along the way was remarkably low,” he says. “From the genetic perspective, if the ancestral train from the Taiwan vicinity to Polynesia wasn’t an express, very few passengers climbed aboard or got off along the way."

Friedlaender adds that this study also confirms and expands their findings from previous studies about the genetic diversity of Island Melanesians—among the most genetically diverse people on the planet, showing further that their diversity is neatly organized by island, island size, topography and language families.

The study was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the National Geographic Society, The National Institutes of Health, Taiwan National Science Council, and Temple, Binghamton, and Yale Universities.

19 posted on 01/18/2008 10:46:52 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: martin_fierro

Whoops, forgot to add you to the addressing.


20 posted on 01/18/2008 10:53:08 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: AdmSmith; AnalogReigns; Cacique; caryatid; Celtjew Libertarian; CobaltBlue; concentric circles; ...
Genetic
Genealogy
Send FReepmail if you want on/off GGP list
Marty = Paternal Haplogroup O(2?)(M175)
Maternal Haplogroup H
GG LINKS:
African Ancestry
DNAPrint Genomics
FamilyTree DNA
mitosearch
Nat'l Geographic Genographic Project
Oxford Ancestors
RelativeGenetics
Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
Trace Genetics
ybase
ysearch
The List of Ping Lists

21 posted on 01/18/2008 10:59:36 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

ooooh, nice graphic. A little jealous.


22 posted on 01/18/2008 11:11:04 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: Dysart

We already knew that the Polynesians and Micronesians were most closely related to Taiwan Aborigines and East Asians. The question is where the Melanesians came from?


23 posted on 01/18/2008 11:20:11 AM PST by shuckmaster
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To: blam

I like that version better. Thanks.


24 posted on 01/18/2008 11:23:26 AM PST by Dysart
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To: Perdogg

Does this mean that China mainland is a province of Taiwan?


25 posted on 01/18/2008 11:33:21 AM PST by AmericanVictory (Should we be more like them, or they like us?)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

Thanks for the photo of post 19 of the young blond Melanisian girl.

It conclusively proves that Bill Clinton visited the islands circa 1995-98 on a goodwill trip to dispense lip balm.


26 posted on 01/18/2008 12:10:04 PM PST by wildbill
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To: SunkenCiv
Well, you DO have this one:

Photobucket

27 posted on 01/18/2008 12:15:27 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: SunkenCiv; blam

Melanesian - interesting features.

28 posted on 01/18/2008 1:24:40 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: Perdogg

I read that somewhere before.

The native Taiwanese don’t look like Chinese people.

Don’t know if any are left there now.

Always thought Polynesian women were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.


29 posted on 01/18/2008 1:33:17 PM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: squarebarb

I have seen pictures of the Taiwanese and they look taller and different from the Ainu people.


30 posted on 01/18/2008 1:34:09 PM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: Fred Nerks
"Melanesian - interesting features."

Easter Island statues?

A couple years ago I was watching a NG special about the ritual male New Guinean boys go through to enter manhood. They build a tall tower and jump off with a vine attached to their leg and stop just before hitting the ground.

Anyway, when the cameraman went up onto the tower to show the view looking down, he showed a crowd of black people below awaiting the ceremomies. I was amazed at the number of red-headed people in that crowd.

31 posted on 01/18/2008 1:49:04 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Fred Nerks

Looks like Dennis Rodman!


32 posted on 01/18/2008 1:57:55 PM PST by Riverman94610
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To: Riverman94610; Fred Nerks
Red Hair Too!


33 posted on 01/18/2008 2:04:58 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
hmmm...I think you're onto something...

chachapoya:


34 posted on 01/18/2008 3:04:47 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: Fred Nerks
What The Scientists Have To Say

As mentioned in the genetic evidence, the male Y chromosome shows that the most recent common ancestor Polynesians had with Melanesians was 11,500 years ago, this was the time of the flooding of the Sunda platform.
It is highly likely that when this contact occured, Melanesians wern't even living in Melanesia. Genetics also shows that 6,000 years ago, the Polynesians separated from the great East China civilization which gave rise to Tibetans, Thais, Taiwanese, Tlingit, Haida, Pima and Maya.
This was a time of another cataclysmic rise in sea level during the final warming period, and ending of the last Ice Age, flooding areas such as the Taiwan Banks.
Furthermore, genetics indicates that Polynesians did not arrive in the Central Pacific until 2,200 years ago. Genetic evidence also shows that Eastern Polynesia developed in isolation from the Melanesians.
Admixture with Melanesians in Tonga and Samoa has only occurred within the last 1,000 years. So why bother looking towards Melanesia for the origins of Polynesians?

As geneticist SW Serjeantson comments; "It seems quite implausible that a group supposedly evolving within Melanesia could have acquired, by chance, so many non-Melanesian genes!"

This is one of the most bizzarre scientific conundrums I have ever come across. I was led to believe scientists were logical thinking intelligent people. Experience in the Lapita arena does not support this view.

Amongst the Archaeologists, which can be given credit for: tentatively holding on to the truth are Matthew Spriggs and Anita Smith.

35 posted on 01/18/2008 3:12:01 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Fred Nerks

2004: Top (Archaeological) Finds On Bolivian Highlands


36 posted on 01/18/2008 3:15:57 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Wandering The World

"Two years ago, Gonzalez announced one particularly well-preserved skull, from a young woman in her 20s, had been found to be 12,700 years old. It was an important discovery, making the specimen, dubbed Penon Woman, the oldest American ever found and carbon dated."

This week, Gonzalez had another scientific "bomb" to share: Penon Woman was originally an Australian.

37 posted on 01/18/2008 3:28:23 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
...Genetics also shows that 6,000 years ago, the Polynesians separated from the great East China civilization which gave rise to Tibetans, Thais, Taiwanese, Tlingit, Haida, Pima and Maya.

Mummy Mask - Peru

Oceana - (lost the link.)

Enigmatic profile? Rock carving New Zealand.

Rockart - New Zealand.

38 posted on 01/18/2008 3:47:58 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: blam

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y258/FredNerks/17RapaNui_beachfront_statues.jpg

Easter Island

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y258/FredNerks/tikiAustralIslands.jpg

Austral Islands

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y258/FredNerks/TaracoPeru.jpg

Taraco - Peru

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y258/FredNerks/atPuamauonHivaOa.jpg

Hiva Oa


39 posted on 01/18/2008 4:22:51 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: blam
Penon Woman was originally an Australian...

A koala bear? LOL!

so, where did the Australian aboriginal people come from? That's simply another mystery to us. Scattered all over the continent, great differences in appearance, their art varies tremendously, as did their languages.

40 posted on 01/18/2008 4:31:54 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: blam

Well, this should help to answer that question...

http://www.biology.iastate.edu/intop/1Australia/04papers/TressaAborigOrign.htm

“...Conclusions

Though genetic, archeological, and anthropological studies on the colonization date of Australia are contradictory at times, some general conclusions may be reached when the evidence is considered collectively.

Based on mtDNA analysis, Ingman and Gyllesten proposed a colonization date of 71,000±12,000 years ago and suggested multiple migrations to Australia or a heterogeneous source population...

(I’m a lot wiser now...)


41 posted on 01/18/2008 4:54:29 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: blam
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/easter1.htm

When proof was found in 1978 that some of the Easter Island statues once had inlaid eyes, it came as a shock to many researchers, who had opposed the idea on the grounds that this was not a Polynesian custom. Inlaid eyes were a common feature of many of the oldest images of the Middle East, from Egypt to the Indus Valley. The seafaring Hittites, for example, adopted the practice from the Sumerians. Many prehistoric American stone statues also had inlaid eyes.


42 posted on 01/18/2008 6:23:37 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: Fred Nerks
"The seafaring Hittites, for example, adopted the practice from the Sumerians.

Professor Stephan Oppenheimer thinks that the Middle East civilizations may have been seeded by refugees from the sunken area of Sundaland. They would have had to wait until the 7-8,000 years ago for the Straits Of Malacca to open up. Previous to that, people would have migrated/sought refuge in the other direction.

43 posted on 01/18/2008 7:01:50 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Fred Nerks
"Based on mtDNA analysis, Ingman and Gyllesten proposed a colonization date of 71,000±12,000 years ago and suggested multiple migrations to Australia..."

After the Toba super-volcano event which the 'Hobbits' apparently weathered/survived on Flores.

44 posted on 01/18/2008 7:04:54 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

I just remembered...there’s an image of the man Heyerdhal called The Mayor of Easter Island - he had bright red hair!

http://www.white-history.com/hwr6d_files/eired.jpg


45 posted on 01/18/2008 7:05:49 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: blam

http://www.celticnz.co.nz/Waitapu_Valley/Waitapu4.htm

Here’s the link and the story about the “enigmatic profile’ I posted earlier.

“Here in New Zealand the ancient people used these Egyptian/ South American measurements, as well as the Aztec quipu string knot devices, which were called by virtually the same name locally (kupu). Many regional plants (Karaka Berry), tubers (Sweet Potatoe) or cultural symbols (Hei-Tiki) found to be in the possession of Maori when maritime explorers arrived in the 1700’s have origins in South America. The Waitaha people of New Zealand claim a link to South America via Easter Island.

Figure 38: One of many incised boulders from the Taranaki region of New Zealand’s North Island, showing a raised relief face and headdress profile. Boulder incised designs of that district can look very “South American” and the headdress design shown is quite reminiscent of that depicted on the Quetzacoatl plumed serpent representations at Teotihuacan or the striped effect of Tutankhamun’s funerary mask from Egypt. The Meso-American “feathered serpent” representations also depict the “double spiral”, much used in Maori facial tattooing. The widely used “double spiral” design has a pedigree back to ancient Ireland or the Caucasoid “mummies of Urumchi”, China, etc., and is very old. The intricate pictographs found on these Taranaki boulders are generally faded and weather-worn, insinuating great age. Knowledge of the boulders is muted and largely suppressed in New Zealand and to date there has been little serious scholastic effort to trace the origins of the intricate patterning found on some of them.”

The ‘double spiral’ reference is interesting...


46 posted on 01/18/2008 7:25:57 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: Fred Nerks
Celts before the Maoris?
47 posted on 01/18/2008 7:33:17 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

HA! Found it! One of the red-headed Easter Islanders photographed in his secret cave.

48 posted on 01/18/2008 7:40:10 PM PST by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
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To: martin_fierro

Sure I do, but that one just creeps me out...


49 posted on 01/18/2008 11:04:44 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__________________Profile updated Wednesday, January 16, 2008)
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To: blam
Pacific Islanders’ Ancestry Emerges in Genetic Study

By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Published: January 18, 2008

The ancestral relationships of people living in the widely scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean, long a puzzle to anthropologists, may have been solved by a new genetic study, researchers reported Thursday.

In an analysis of the DNA of 1,000 individuals from 41 Pacific populations, an international team of scientists found strong evidence showing that Polynesians and Micronesians in the central and eastern islands had almost no genetic relationship to Melanesians, in the western islands like Papua New Guinea and the Bismarck and Solomons archipelagos.

The researchers also concluded that the genetic data showed that the Polynesians and Micronesians were most closely related to Taiwan Aborigines and East Asians. They said this supported the view that these migrating seafarers originated in Taiwan and coastal China at least 3,500 years ago.

The findings were described in the online journal Public Library of Science Genetics (www.plosgenetics.org) by researchers led by Jonathan S. Friedlaender, professor emeritus of biological anthropology at Temple University. He was assisted in the data analysis by his wife, Françoise R. Friedlaender, an independent researcher. Other participants included scientists in the islands and at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wis.

“Our analysis,” the scientists wrote, “indicates the ancestors of Polynesians moved through Melanesia relatively rapidly and only intermixed to a very modest degree with the indigenous populations there.”

Dr. Friedlaender of Temple said in an interview that the evidence was “substantial” and “solves a number of issues about the migration and settlement of Pacific people.”

In particular, he and other anthropologists not involved in the study said, the genetic research supported the “fast train” hypothesis. Increasing archaeological and linguistic evidence in recent years has suggested that ancestors of Micronesians and Polynesians had moved through Indonesia and Melanesia without having any significant contact there, culturally or genetically.

An alternative argument, the “slow boat” hypothesis, which had some support from male Y chromosome studies, raised the possibility that Polynesians were primarily Melanesians who had ventured on in their outrigger canoes. And a few anthropologists despaired of ever solving the mystery. Theirs was the “entangled bank” hypothesis.

The new genetic research, said Patrick V. Kirch, an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who is an authority on Pacific cultures, was “overwhelming biological evidence for a clear population movement out of Southeast Asia and Taiwan to Polynesia.”

Dr. Kirch, who did not participate in the genetic study, said that it reinforced research showing that Polynesian speech patterns were unrelated to Melanesian languages, suggesting — along with discoveries of the distinctive Lapita pottery across the Pacific — links to Taiwan and China, not Melanesia. “The combination of evidence shows we really can read this history,” he said.

As Dr. Friedlaender said, “If it wasn’t exactly an express train, it was pretty fast, and very few passengers climbed aboard or got off along the way.”

In the research, scientists examined more than 800 genetic markers known to be useful in distinguishing the ancestry of people. These involved mitochondrial DNA, passed down through females, and the Y chromosomes in males. Previous investigations along these lines had been conducted on a much smaller scale, Dr. Friedlaender said.

The new test results were repeatedly analyzed with a software program recently developed to classify genetic similarities and variations among different populations.

Primary support for the study was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation of Anthropological Research, the National Geographic Society and the National Institutes of Health.

Further research to confirm the history of the Pacific diaspora, Dr. Friedlaender said, would require an expansion of genetic tests among people in the Philippines and Indonesia, regions that the migrants presumably passed through after leaving Taiwan more than 3,500 years ago, ultimately reaching as far as Hawaii and Easter Island. The Melanesians, on the other hand, probably arrived on their islands about 35,000 years ago, sometime later than the Aborigines reached Australia.

Years ago, a reporter who visited the Marshall Islands asked an aging Micronesian chief where his people came from long, long ago. “We have always been here,” he replied. Now, if it matters to them, his descendants have been given a more scientific answer.

50 posted on 12/16/2010 2:14:12 PM PST by blam
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