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Geneticists found in a new study that ancient inhabitants of Easter Island met and mated with Native Americans long before Westerners arrived.
The genetic evidence indicates either that Rapa Nui people traveled to South America or that Native Americans journeyed to Easter Island. The researchers said it probably was the Rapa Nui people making the arduous ocean round trips.
"It seems most likely that they voyaged from Rapa Nui to South America and brought South Americans back to Rapa Nui and admixed with them," said Mark Stoneking, a geneticist withGermany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology...
While it may have taken weeks for Rapanui to reach even the closest nearby islands, there are hints of their early contact with South Americans.
For example, there is evidence for the presence of plants native to the Americas on Easter Island, including sweet potato and bottle gourd, long before the European discovery of the island.
Now a genome-wide analysis of 27 native Rapanui confirms that the island people made contact with Native South Americans 19 to 23 generations ago, sometime between AD 1280 and 1495.
The lead author of the study, Dr Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, suggests one of two scenarios: either South Americans sailed to the island or Rapanui travelers sailed to the continent and back.
We need ancient DNA from skeletal evidence—not modern evidence—to resolve this question.
If open-rigger canoes can make it this far...
I read about the introduction of yams into Polynesia (which btw occurred hundreds of years before this apparent interbreeding).
originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: Blackmarketeer
I do think we need to stop thinking of ancient peoples as though they could only travel as far as they could row. I don 't doubt people travelled vast distances over the sea and land because there are traces of a huge culture that existed world wide with the knowledge of pyramid building and the alignments of the cosmos.
The only whisper we have is from the bible where it glibly tells us that the world was fully populated. Unless people were travelling all over the world, the little ME world of the bible would not have been aware of that fact. Neither would the fact that we all spoke a similar language and could understand ourselves have been known. We know that also because God, in his annoyance presumably at the noise we collectively made, had to separate us and broke our communication between ourselves and our distant cousins.
We are in a world where a number of people believe the bible and another number disbelieve it, however by picking these two bits of information that relate to before a flood - which never happened - and we all use as a bench mark in time - although we can't quite date it (as it never happened) we do have those two points which tell us of a time when people populated all the world and travelled and were very skilled at it, especially the people living in the southern hemisphere who could tell if an island were over the horizen purely by the way the waves lapped against their canoes. Skills we may either have forgotten or may not have needed to acquire. We also know that the native Australian peoples navigated across a very challenging landscape and met with others without any kind of bush telegraph. We have two examples of people who navigated easily well beyond our skills were we without our technology today, so why should we be surprised or douobt their abilities?
originally posted by: LABTECH767
Not surprising, we do not know half of the history of the america's, when columbus reached the island he called Hispaniola, now Haiti he recorded masted recorded ships or balsa rafts as large as his own trading with the island, they were from south america, then there is the whole cocain and tobacco egyptian mummys scandal which is not solved no matter what you might be told so where they plying trade accross the atlantic with the west coast of africa or even more unlikly but not impossible were they trading accross the pacific.
Of course the Chinese knew something as they created the grand fleet, a massive fleet of Junk's far larger than anything until the age of the Galleon and maybe even larger than them, they sailed on a mission of discovery and suspected chinese Sea anchors have been found off the californian coast though I have no idea of the validity of that claim.
Then there is the mystery of poanape island with it's massive corral stone city's, one sunken and a later one built higher which may imply a global trade long before the europeans got involved or tried to rewrite history in there image.
The Polynesian Gene Pool: An Early Contribution by Amerindians to Easter Island
Abstract. It is now generally accepted that Polynesia was first settled by peoples from southeast Asia. An alternative that eastern parts of Polynesia were first inhabited by Amerindians has found little support. There are, however, many indications of a ‘prehistoric’ (i.e. before Polynesia was discovered by Europeans) contact between Polynesia and the Americas, but genetic evidence of a prehistoric Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool has been lacking.
The HLA investigations revealed, however, that some individuals also carried HLA alleles which have previously almost only been found in Amerindians. We could trace the introduction of these Amerindian alleles to before the Peruvian slave trades, i.e. before the 1860s, and provide suggestive evidence that they were introduced already in prehistoric time. Our results demonstrate an early Amerindian contribution to the Polynesian gene pool on Easter Island, and illustrate the usefulness of typing for immunogenetic markers such as HLA to complement mtDNA and Y chromosome analyses in anthropological investigations
Thorsby offers a better explanation: in accordance with the findings of chicken remains with Polynesian mtDNA in El Arenal, southern Chile and the suggestive evidence of pre-Columbian Polynesian ancestry in Mocha Island, Chile, he writes, “…There is strong evidence that Polynesians had been in South America early, i.e. in pre-Columbian time. After having arrived in South America, some of them may have returned to Polynesia, including Easter Island, not only taking the sweet potato and bottle gourd, etc., but also some native Americans with them.”