• Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

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Story of epic human voyages across Polynesia revealed by genetics

carved statue

Polynesian sacred idol statue on Raivavae island, Polynesia

Dmitry Malov/Alamy

A genetic study has helped shine a light on how the Polynesian islands of the central and southern Pacific – some of which are thousands of kilometres apart – were populated over the past thousand years.

Alexander Ioannidis at Stanford University in California and his colleagues analysed the DNA of 430 people of Polynesian descent to map their genetic ancestry.

Polynesia is made up of around 1000 islands that span one-third of the world. It includes New Zealand, Hawaii, Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and Samoa. …