Skip to comments.Easter Island's Ancient Inhabitants Weren't So Lonely After All
Posted on 10/23/2014 2:15:04 PM PDT by blam
October 23, 2014
They lived on a remote dot of land in the middle of the Pacific, 2,300 miles (3,700 km) west of South America and 1,100 miles (1,770 km) from the closest island, erecting huge stone figures that still stare enigmatically from the hillsides.
But the ancient Polynesian people who populated Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, were not as isolated as long believed. Scientists who conducted a genetic study, published on Thursday in the journal Current Biology, found these ancient people had significant contact with Native American populations hundreds of years before the first Westerners reached the island in 1722.
The Rapa Nui people created a unique culture best known for the 900 monumental head-and-torso stone statues known as moai erected around Easter Island. The culture flourished starting around 1200 until falling into decline by the 16th century.
Genetic data on 27 Easter Island natives indicated that interbreeding between the Rapa Nui and native people in South America occurred roughly between 1300 and 1500.
"We found evidence of gene flow between this population and Native American populations, suggesting an ancient ocean migration route between Polynesia and the Americas," said geneticist Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas of the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, who led the study.
The genetic evidence indicates either that Rapa Nui people traveled to South America or that Native Americans journeyed to Easter Island. The researchers said it probably was the Rapa Nui people making the arduous ocean round trips.
"It seems most likely that they voyaged from Rapa Nui to South America and brought South Americans back to Rapa Nui and admixed with them," said Mark Stoneking, a geneticist with Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology who collaborated on a related study of Brazil's indigenous Botocudo people.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
Maybe they captured slaves and brought them back.
I'm reminded of this article I posted here eleven years ago.
Round trips are hard.
All you need are some wayward South Americans who manage to get blown to the Island by luck to get an ‘admixture’
That anyone would find and live on an island in the middle of the Pacific is puzzling enough.
I’m thinking that Fletcher Christian, or some of his buddies, may have nailed a few on occasion.
I wonder if anyone has studied Easter polynesian (rapa nui) to look for loan words that are of apparent amerindian origin. Because if there were enough contact to change the bloodline maybe there could be some trace in the language.
Uh oh, some people are going to have to find a way to apologize to the now deceased Thor Heyerdahl.
Further West in the Pacific, there were some amazing sailors. Perhaps they had contact with Easter island and taught them (or the other way around).
People these days appear not to know that one can go great distances in a small boat with a sail and a skillful sailor and some guts.
That is exactly what I thought too. People had to get to the island in the first place. They came from somewhere. Seems likely explorers wandered onto the island or maybe a group had to flee for their lives and fled SA for the ocean
i loved that book.
Kon-Tiki was right—South Americans sailed west—other peoples came from the east—Look at illustrations of masted sailing craft—that predate contact with Europeans—on Easter Island. Then their is the mysterious Rongo-rongo boards with their odd writing—so far untraslateable—it might as well be Martian.
Good addition, thanks.
Really appreciate you pointing out Uranus-NOT!
Teasing clues: Indus Valley inscriptions (also not translated) on the left, Rongo Rongo on the right.
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