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Austronesian DNA

17 April 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-04-genetic-admixture-south-pacific-denisovans… … research published in the journal Nature in April of 2021 tells us about diversity amongst the people of the South Pacific islands, as far as DNA heritage is concerned. It is already known that the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and Papua, as well as Australia were occupied by at least 45,000 years ago. However, the more remote islands of the South Pacific were not occupied by humans. It was suggested the indigenous Austronesian peoples had their origins on the island of Taiwan, just 5000 years ago. These appear to be Austronesian speakers rather than what was formerly Austronesian people. They migrated into the Phillippines, Indonesia and the South Pacific, expanding eventually to more remote islands. These were the Polynesians, although they appear to be called Austronesians in this article. The date of 45,000 years ago would suggest people were already in the South Pacific during the Late Glacial Maximum – or at least some part of them were [as implied by the DNA]. Perhaps it isn't as simple as it has been presented in the past. Was it instead the Denisovans, or descendants of people with an origin in the Denisovans [and other early people]. Admixture is suggested, according to the research  paper. Where do the Malays, Polynesians, Micronesians, and Australian Aborigines fit into the jigsaw. It is beginning to unravel – but some more to go it would seem.

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