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Tue Apr 2, 2013, 01:45 AM

DNA study links indigenous Brazilians to Polynesians

Indigenous people that lived in southeastern Brazil in the late 1800s shared some genetic sequences with Polynesians, an analysis of their remains shows. The finding offers some support for the possibility that Pacific islanders traded with South America thousands of years ago, but researchers say that the distinctive DNA sequences, or haplogroups, may have entered the genomes of the native Brazilians through the slave trade during the nineteenth century.

Most scientists agree that humans arrived in the Americas between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago, probably via the Bering land bridge linking northeastern Asia with what is now Alaska. But the precise timing and the number of ‘migration waves’ is unclear, owing largely to variations in early Americans’ physical features, says Sérgio Pena, a molecular geneticist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

One broad group of these Palaeoamericans — the Botocudo people, who lived in inland regions of southeastern Brazil — stands out, having skull shapes that were intermediate between those of other Palaeoamericans and a presumed ancestral population in eastern Asia.


http://www.nature.com/news/dna-study-links-indigenous-brazilians-to-polynesians-1.12710

17 replies, 1710 views

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 01:49 AM

1. Not a surprise

I always doubted the land bridge as the only route for migration theory. The people from the South Pacific were such amazing sailors that some of them had to have come this far and populated at least part of this hemisphere.

Even the land bridge itself is suspect since it would have been buried under a mile or so of glacier. It would have made a lot more sense to follow seals and schools of fish by sea than starving herds of whatever crossing a massive glacier with thousands and thousands of miles to travel before they found something to eat.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 02:21 AM

2. The use of the sweet potato by polynesians

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 03:01 AM

4. The "Land bridge first last and only" people all tried to say that was very recent

and coincided with European exploration.

It didn't, of course. Some people just can't seem to let go of theories that don't work.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 11:42 AM

10. That is recent, compared with when the Americas became populated

It's about 1000 years ago. About a fifteenth of the time (maybe more - the time the Americas have been inhabited has a tendency to grow) that there's been an considerable population there. It really doesn't affect the ideas about where the American population came from at all. You can't use it to explain how the Americas had been extensively populated for thousands of years before it. Only the Bering land bridge can do that.

What the sweet potato discoveries show is that the Polynesian voyages got further than had been recorded.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 04:09 PM

12. You mean only following schools of fish along the side of the glacier

covering the Bering land bridge could have done that.

The Land Bridge Only people always miss that part, that it was under an ice sheet and there would have been no herds to follow and any they'd taken with them would have starved and died long before they'd managed to traverse the ice sheet into North America.

They didn't walk here. They most likely sailed here.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #12)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 04:24 PM

13. Except that scientists are happy there was a non-glaciated corridor

No, no-one "misses that part". They just don't agree with you that it was all under an ice sheet.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 04:28 PM

14. At that latitude? Preposterous.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 02:46 AM

3. Except that the colonization of Polynesia was pretty recent

Polynesians didn't reach Rapa Nui (Easter Island) until about 1200 AD. As that is the easternmost point of known Polynesian culture, it is probable that any contact between them and South America would have happened after that. Vastly too late to have been the initial colonists of the continent.

I wouldn't rule out some limited trade between the two... both of goods and genes. But as the Rapa Nui islanders seem to have rather quickly exhausted their boat-making resources, any such network would have been very brief.

As for the land bridge, there are two strong cases for its existence and viability as a pathway; One, geology. Glaciation is pretty easy to suss out, and there is in fact a corridor that seems to have been glacier-free through Alaska and western Canada. Second is biological - there is a very strong continuity of species between North America and northern Eurasia, extinct and extant. Unless you want to tell me large numbers of genetically-diverse bison swam the whole way? some humans no doubt migrated by sea (in fact, this is how the Aleut and Inuit peoples got where they are; their migration from Eurasia was within the last 4,000 years) but there's nothing wrong with a Berengia foot crossing.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 03:21 AM

5. Easter Islanders were a lost voyage

The relationship of polynesians and south america are much older than the settlement of easter island as proven by the sweet potato.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:27 PM

17. Actually, the Inuit & their cousins were amongst the first peoples to come to North America. n/t

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 04:05 AM

6. Polynesian Chickens in Chile

A more recent study published in the July 2008 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and based on testing a larger number of chicken bones concluded that the DNA matched that of European chickens and that contamination resulted in the radiocarbon date appearing to be older than it actually was.

Polynesian Chicken Bone • El Arenal, Chile



DNA analysis of a chicken bone from a prehistoric site in Chile shows Polynesian seafarers first brought the birds to the New World. (Chicken: Anita Gould, Bone: Courtesy Alice Storey)
Scholars have long assumed the Spaniards first introduced chickens to the New World along with horses, pigs, and cattle. But now radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis of a chicken bone excavated from a site in Chile suggest Polynesians in oceangoing canoes brought chickens to the west coast of South America well before Europe's "Age of Discovery."

An international team, including bioarchaeologist Alice Storey of the University of Auckland, made the startling discovery after analyzing a recently excavated chicken bone from the Chilean site of El Arenal, a settlement of the Mapuche, a people who lived on the southern fringe of the Inca empire from about A.D. 1000 to 1500.

The team found that the chicken's DNA sequence was related to that of chickens whose remains were unearthed from archaeological sites on the Polynesian islands of Tonga and American Samoa. Radiocarbon dating shows the El Arenal chicken lived sometime between a.d. 1321 and 1407, well after Polynesians first settled Easter Island and the other easternmost islands of the Pacific.

In 1532, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro recorded the presence of chickens in Peru, where the Inca used them in religious ceremonies. "That suggests chickens had already been there for a while," says Storey. "It's possible there are stylized chickens in the iconography that we have not recognized because we did not know they were there. I'm fascinated to see what are going to do with this information."

http://archive.archaeology.org/0801/topten/chicken.html

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 09:23 AM

8. I was actually going to mention something about the chickens

I generally believe that we seriously underestimate the abilities of our ancient ancestors. I believe that we have a culture and civilization going back much further than most people think and that the various cultures were in much greater contact with each other than we normally think.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Tue Apr 2, 2013, 04:17 AM

7. Polynesia isn't exactly on the way from Angola to Rio

The 19th-century Brazilian trade focused first on the Bight of Benin to Bahia and then from Luanda and Benguela to Rio. Polynesia isn't on the way.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 11:35 AM

9. The first person to circumnavigate the world may have been a Malay slave taken to Spain

and then on Magellan's voyage:

Magellan’s slave may have been the first person to truly circumnavigate the globe.

One of the most important members of Magellan’s voyage was his personal slave Enrique, who had been with the captain since an earlier voyage to Malacca in 1511. A native of the East Indies, Enrique reportedly spoke a Malay dialect and acted as the expedition’s interpreter during their time in the Philippines. As many historians have noted, if Enrique was originally from that part of the world, then by the time the expedition reached the Philippines he would have already circled the earth and returned to his homeland. If true, this would mean the slave Enrique—rather than any of the European mariners—was the first person to circumnavigate the globe.

http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-surprising-facts-about-magellans-circumnavigation-of-the-globe


There had been some slaves brought from the Pacific to Europe right from the first voyages.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 02:45 PM

11. Okay

I would have found the point more persuasive if at located the influence prior to Napoleon's invasion of Portugal and the court's move to Rio, but the 19th century makes far less sense than during the earlier height of the Portuguese maritime Empire.

A word of caution. I would avoid the History channel and its websites. It really is crap. This particular point is fine. Some of the other depictions on that page less so. For example, "evangelical Christian" as a descriptor particular to Magellan is bizarre, since the entire age of exploration was justified and empowered by the notion of spreading Christianity.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 01:47 PM

15. Sorry for the tangent, but why qualify "what is now Alaska"?

Is it somehow a less legitimate geographical description than "northeastern Asia"? I'm pretty sure that 15,000-20,000 years ago, no one was calling that area "Asia"...

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Apr 11, 2013, 08:25 PM

16. Betcha at least this goes for North America to an extent as well.

This might help explain some things, such as why the Dene peoples have a few remaining relatives in Oregon and why the earliest confirmed remnants of Native American presence on our continent have been found along certain areas of the Northwest coast so far, and not Alaska.

The Bering land bridge theory may indeed help explain the origins the Inuit and related peoples, such as the Tlingit, and perhaps some of those communities in British Columbia, and maybe even adjacent areas of Washington, as well, but not of the Athabascans and their Navajo cousins, and perhaps many others as well.

I, for one, would like to see more in-depth research into this whole matter.




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