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Polynesian Voyaging

10 July 2020

At https://anthropology.net/2020/07/08/polynesians-contacted-native-america… … lots of speculation on the part of Polynesian contact with the Americas has been the norm for a number of years. It seems that the science has finally caught up with common sense. It has been obvious, for example, that the Polynesian adoption of the sweet potato as a dietary staple must have come about as a result of contact with the Americas as that is where the sweet potato originated and where it was domesticated, in the foothills of the Andes. Now, genetics have come into play where it seems Easter Islanders, and people on a few of the other islands in the far Pacific, display Native American DNA in their genomes. It may go back as far as 1500 years ago – but see also https://phys.org/news/2020-07-polynesians-native-americans-contact-europ… … where the point of contact is narrowed down to Columbia, and the time of contact is put at 1200AD. This coincides with Polynesians voyaging to the far islands of the Pacific, including Easter Isand and the Marquesas. It may indicate these islands were already occupied by Native Americans when the Polynesians arrived, which would fit in roughly with the theories of  Thor Heyerdahl as outlined in his Kon Tiki expedition. On the other hand, others have suggested that Easter Islanders reached South America and maintained contact over a period of time. It would then be necessary for the DNA from islanders who were not Easter Islanders to obtain their genetic connection after Easter Islanders were shipped to other islands to work on plantations, and mixed with the inhabitants. On the face of it the idea that Native Americans had already colonised the far islands of the Pacific, per the Kon Tiki theory, would seem to have a head start. We can be assured that other researchers will come along and beg to differ.

See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2487-2 or www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2487-2


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