Rat DNA points to Pacific migrations | Science News


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Rat DNA points to Pacific migrations

12:59pm, July 6, 2004

Archaeologists regard members of the ancient, seafaring Lapita culture as the ancestors of Polynesians, who now live on a large group of western Pacific islands collectively known as Oceania. Where the Lapita originally came from and the way in which they occupied a string of islands that spans more than 2,000 miles remains a topic of hot debate.

A new genetic analysis of Pacific rats, which canoe-traveling Lapita colonists brought with them for food and introduced to Oceania, adds weight to an earlier theory that Lapita mariners based in Southeast Asia moved across the region in a series of migrations, from 6,000 to 3,000 years ago.

Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith and Judith H

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