From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Islands of Polynesia
Mains level : NA
How did the Polynesian peoples come to live on the far-flung islands of the Pacific? The question has intrigued researchers for centuries.
The newscard contains some trivial facts. However, aspirants are advised to observe the map.
Study on Polynesia
- Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl brought the topic to public attention when he sailed a balsa-wood raft called the Kon-Tiki from Peru to Polynesia in 1947.
- His goal was to demonstrate such voyages were possible, supporting theories linking Polynesian origins to the Americas.
- Decades of research in archaeology, linguistics and genetics now show that Polynesian origins lie to the west, ultimately in the islands of Southeast Asia.
New evidence for American interlopers
- A new study published in Nature reports genetic evidence of Native American ancestry in several Polynesian populations.
- Other researchers have previously found evidence of indigenous American DNA in the genomes of the modern inhabitants of Rapa Nui.
- Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is the part of Polynesia closest to South America.
- This suggests the “Amerindian” genetic component was likely introduced later via Chilean colonists.