Research: Ancient Americans made epic Pacific voyages

The discussion of contacts between the Americas and Polynesia often focused on Easter Island. New evidence has been found for epic prehistoric travels between the Americas and eastern Polynesia. DNA analysis shows that around 1200 A.D. there was a mix between Native Americans and Polynesians. Research published in the journal Nature confirms the idea of ​​where the first contact of Americans and Polynesians occurred.

The likelihood of potential contacts between regions has been a hotly contested topic for scientists for decades. So far, proponents of the interaction between Native Americans and Polynesians have suggested that some common cultural elements, such as some similar words in the vocabulary, hinted – these two populations mixed before the Europeans settled in South America.

Opponents assured that these two groups could not contact – they were separated by thousands of kilometers of the open ocean. In 1947, a Norwegian explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, traveled from South America to Polynesia on a raft to demonstrate that travel is possible.

Recently, Alexander Ioannidis of Stanford University in California and his international colleagues analyzed the genetic data of more than 800 living indigenous people in the coastal areas of South America and French Polynesia. They looked for DNA fragments that are characteristic of each population, and segments that are “identical in origin,” that is, they are inherited from the same ancestor many generations ago.

We found sites of Indian origin identical in origin on several Polynesian islands. This was convincing evidence that there was a common contact event.

Alexander Ioannidis from Stanford University

Heyerdahl traveled across the Pacific Ocean on a raft of balsa across the Pacific Ocean to prove his case. The researcher left Callao, Peru, on April 28, 1947, in the company of five people. They sailed on a raft for 101 days, breaking 6,900 km of the ocean, before crashing into a reef at Raroya in the Tuamotus on August 7, 1947. Thus, this confirms the theory that ancient Americans also made epic Pacific voyages.



In other words, Polynesians and Native Americans met at some point in history, and during this time descendants with the genes of both ethnic groups were born. Statistical analysis confirmed that the event occurred around 1200 AD, around the time that the Pacific islands were originally inhabited by Polynesians.

A team of scientists was also able to localize the source of Native American DNA among indigenous peoples in modern Colombia.

Previous genome studies (the complete set of DNA in the nuclei of human cells) of people from these regions have centered around contact groups on Easter Island. Particular attention was paid to him because it is the closest populated Polynesian island to South America.

Nevertheless, a new study confirms the idea that the first contact occurred on one of the archipelagos of eastern Polynesia – as Heyerdahl suggested.

Wind and current simulations have shown that drifting flights from Ecuador and Colombia appear to have reached Polynesia. Most likely they arrived on the South Marquesas Islands, followed by the Tuamotu archipelago. Both of these archipelagos lie at the heart of the island area, where researchers have discovered a hereditary genetic component from Colombian Native Americans.

Researchers previously noted a superficial resemblance between monolithic statues in Polynesia and others found in South America. But other evidence comes from the correspondence between the word “sweet potato” (a culture that originated in South America), which means “cum” in Polynesia, and “cumal” in the Canyari language in Ecuador.

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