Study Links Brazilians to Polynesians

New research shows that some early settlers of the Americas may have come from the Pacific islands archipelago.

By | April 3, 2013

A Wooden carving from the volcanic islands of MangarevaWIKIMEDIA, CLIFFMost researchers think that early humans populated the Americas by crossing the Bering land bridge that then connected Alaska and Asia. However, a new study published this week (April 1) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found a link between one group of these early settlers, the Botocudo people of southeastern Brazil, and the Polynesians of the southern Pacific.

Researchers studies short stretches of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from museum tooth samples of ancient Botocudo individuals, extracting a piece of the tooth cores so as not to pick up DNA contamination from people who have touched the teeth. A few of the samples contained mtDNA that resembled those of modernPolynesian populations. Although the researchers are fairly confident that their results are accurate, explaining it is more difficult.

One hypothesis suggests that Polynesians could have traveled to the western coast of South America, then made their way east to southern Brazil. However, the group would have had to cross the Andes, which most groups living on the west coast were not believed to have done. Another theory suggests that slave traders could have brought Polynesians to Brazil where they could have interbred with the Botocudo.

(Hat tip to Nature)

Advertisement

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo
Advertisement

Popular Now

  1. Staying Active in the Lab
    Careers Staying Active in the Lab

    Retiring as a professor, and even shutting down your own lab, doesn’t necessarily mean quitting research.

  2. When Does a Smart Mouse Become Human?
  3. The Lies That Scars Tell
    Notebook The Lies That Scars Tell

    Macaque trainers in Bangladesh are often bitten by their monkeys, but rarely infected by a particular simian retrovirus.

  4. Antibiotic Resistance Can Boost Bacterial Fitness
Advertisement
Advertisement
The Scientist