06 February 2009

The Settlement of the South Pacific

Dienekes Anthropology Blog looks at the evidence behind different theories dealing with the populating of the South Pacific by Austronesians. Anthropologists can use genetic evidence along with linguistic evidence to study the migrations of groups over long periods of time. The current consensus is that this vast migration began in Taiwan, and spread southward, then eastward, and branched to all points of the compass, eventually settling the Philippines, Indonesia, parts of New Guinea, and most of the South Pacific including New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter Island (almost to South America).

Where else might these intrepid sea migrants have gone? Could they have formed settlements along the Chilean coast? If so, the evidence has not turned up yet.

One thing is clear, the old myth that the South Pacific islands were settled from South America is all but destroyed. Thor Heyerdahl's idea was adventurous enough and excited many romantic hearts, but doesn't seem to have proven out in the end.

The idea of the "lost civilisation" is persistent throughout the volumes of human myths and tales. When humans brave so much and travel so far to establish a home, it is likely that many promising starts ended up badly. There is a basis in fact for the "lost civilisation." Probably a much vaster basis than we can imagine.

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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I seem to recall that they were also using chicken DNA (the travelers brought the birds along many of their journeys for obviously tasty reasons) as a source of information along with human genes and language. No reports of using chicken language to trace human migration. I guess no one asked the chickens their opinion.

Friday, 06 February, 2009  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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