Early Contact Confirmed Between Polynesians And Amerindians

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Early Contact Confirmed Between Polynesians And Amerindians

Postby Costa Fierro » Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:34 pm

For many years, scholars have speculated about how Polynesia was initially populated. Writing in Nature, Ioannidis et al.1 describe a genetic approach that they used to address the issue of Polynesian origins and interactions.

The early peopling of Polynesia attracted worldwide interest in 1947, when the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set sail on the Kon-Tiki expedition to test his migration theory2. The crew left Peru on a wooden raft, and after 101 days and a voyage of more than 7,000 kilometres, they reached Polynesian shores, thus demonstrating the possibility of early travel from South America to these Pacific islands. Heyerdahl challenged the scientific community’s view that evidence pointed instead to the peopling of Polynesia by people travelling east from Asia, and his idea that Polynesia was initially populated by South Americans was generally criticized by scholars.

The same scientific community nevertheless discussed cultural contacts between the two regions, because a South American plant, the sweet potato, has a long history of cultivation in eastern Polynesia. The idea that Polynesians voyaged to South America and introduced the plant on their return to Polynesia became the accepted explanation for this. Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) is the best-known example considered concerning such contacts. It is a part of Polynesia that is located relatively close to South America, and in Rapa Nui there is evidence of large, ancient sweet-potato fields, extraordinary old stonework and a specific birdman cult — all of which are features in common with those of South America.

Ioannidis and colleagues analysed the DNA of people from Rapa Nui, and also studied DNA of individuals from 17 populations of Pacific islands and 15 Native American populations from the Pacific coast of South America. Genome-wide DNA analyses of 807 people (analysing predominantly present-day individuals) enabled the authors to search for evidence of ancestors from different populations who produced offspring together — thereby generating a combined genetic signature of the two populations, described as an admixture. The authors compared the dominant Polynesian DNA markers with those of people from other regions, including Europe, America, Africa and Melanesia. A computational method called an ADMIXTURE analysis allowed Ioannidis and colleagues to work out a person’s probable genetic ancestry and ancestral geographical origins through studies of gene flow. Their main discovery is that several eastern Polynesian populations have signs of a background signature (genetic traces from distant ancestors) that originated from Native South American people.


So it has been confirmed somewhat that the theory of contact between Polynesians and Amerindians from South America as a DNA study has confirmed shared DNA which can only mean early contact or perhaps descendants from early Amerindian settlement in Polynesia. This opens up more questions but also means that a significant reexamining of early Polynesian history needs to be conducted, although it doesn't necessarily affect later history. However, this does mean that certain populations of Polynesians, these being primarily Tahitians and Maori (both of whom are eastern Polynesian peoples) are distantly related to Amerindians on the Pacific coast of South America.

This is certainly an interesting discovery, and one which proves Thor Heyerdahl's theory of early contact from South America to be correct.

So what do we think of this latest discovery, NSG?
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Postby Soiled fruit roll ups » Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:48 pm

As a part Samoa, part Yeeronpa AFN it great to hear about our exploration of the pacific. And contact with the people hereabouts.
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Postby Major-Tom » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:48 pm

I don't have much to say, other than, that's pretty damn fascinating.
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Postby Atheris » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:51 pm


...Well then. That's certainly a surprise.
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Postby Cetacea » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:57 pm

That the admixture event is dated at around AD 1150–1230 is incredibly significant as it aligns with the Medieval Warm Period (1000-1300) which in the Pacific resulted in calming seas and reversal of trade winds to promote travel to the East*. This is also the period in which sweet potato* are believed to have arrived in the Pacific.
(* Remember the Americas are East of the Pacific Ocean, Asia is the West :0)
(**An Equadorian Quechua name for Sweet Potato is Cumar, across Polynesia it is called Kumala/Kumara/‘Umala)

There is one geneology that refers to a chief named Taunga-ki-te-Marangai (Arrive-to-the-North East) whose father had initiated planned voyagers of discovery out from Rangiatea. Stories from Tahaa/Raiatea (Islands North of Tahiti) say that the heroic navigator Hiro travelled to the north east and returned with some strange men with red skin and straight hair, who some have speculated were from South America. More importantly Taunga and Hiro was in the ‘grandfather’ generation to those who migrated to New Zealand around 1250 - so again the data from this ‘new study’ confirms the oral record.

Im also not suprised the Admixture signs were prominent in Mangareva and Tuamotu. Tuamotuan stories refer to using knotted strings to send messages (possible connected to the Quippu used by the Inca) and there is a story from Tuamotu about a ‘diety’ named Tupa-a-Maru who brought ‘wealth’ on great ships from the east.

It does piss me off that Thor Heyrdahl is given credit though, as if the story of Polynesian contact with South Americans needs a Norwegian to validate it!!! Thor Heyerdahl probably heard the Tuamotuan story and used that to inspire his journey.
Last edited by Cetacea on Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Kowani » Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:25 pm

Oh, damn, this is actually really neat.
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