A survey of wild and domestic pigs has caused archaeologists to reconsider both the origins of the first Pacific colonists and the migration routes humans travelled to reach the remote Pacific.
Using mitochondrial DNA obtained from modern and ancient pigs across East Asia and the Pacific, the researchers demonstrated that a single genetic heritage is shared by modern Vietnamese wild boar, modern feral pigs on the islands of Sumatra, Java, and New Guinea, ancient Lapita pigs in Near Oceania, and modern and ancient domestic pigs on several Pacific Islands.
The study results, published today in the prestigious academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, contradict established models of human migration which assert that the ancestors of Pacific islanders originated in Taiwan or Island Southeast Asia, and travelled along routes that pass through the Philippines as they dispersed into the remote Pacific.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Pig study forces rethink of Pacific colonisation