Island-hopping: Genetics reveal how humans settled remote Pacific

Island-hopping: Genetics reveal how humans settled remote Pacific

Easter Island’s famous megaliths have relatives on islands thousands of miles to the north and west — and so did the people who created them, a study said Wednesday. Research showed that over a 250-year period separate groups of people set out from tiny islands east of Tahiti to settle Easter Island, the Marquesas and Raivavae — archipelagos that are thousands of miles apart but all home to similar ancient statues. “These statues are only on those islands that are closely connected genetically,” the study’s lead author Alexander Ioannidis of Stanford University told AFP. Using cutting-edge analysis of modern DNA, Ioannidis and his team were able to map and date the first Polynesians’ path of settlement, which began in Samoa and fanned out across the Pacific between the years 830 and 1360. “This had been an open problem since Captain Cook first noticed that the people on the Polynesian islands were all speaking the
Easter Island’s famous megaliths have relatives on islands thousands of miles to the north and west — and so did the people who created them, a study said Wednesday. Research showed that over a 250-year period separate groups of people set out from tiny islands east of Tahiti to settle Easter Island, the Marquesas and Raivavae — archipelagos that are thousands of miles apart but all home to similar ancient statues. “These statues are only on those islands that are closely connected genetically,” the study’s lead author Alexander Ioannidis of Stanford University told AFP. Using cutting-edge analysis of modern DNA, Ioannidis and his team were able to map and date the first Polynesians’ path of settlement, which began in Samoa and fanned out across the Pacific between the years 830 and 1360. “This had been an open problem since Captain Cook first noticed that the people on the Polynesian islands were all speaking the