Polynesians and Amerindians

Found on the Net.

AMERICAN INDIAN HLA GENES ON EASTER ISLAND

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 19 March 2012 vol. 367 no. 1590 812-819

The Polynesian Gene Pool: An Early Contribution by Amerindians to Easter Island

Erik Thorsby

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.

We recently carried out genomic HLA (human leucocyte antigen) typing as well as typing for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome markers of blood samples collected in 1971 and 2008 from reputedly non-admixed Easter Islanders. All individuals carried HLA alleles and mtDNA types previously found in Polynesia, and most of the males carried Y chromosome markers of Polynesian origin (a few had European Y chromosome markers), further supporting an initial Polynesian population on Easter Island.

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.

Comment: Erik Thorsby’s study appears to be the first clear documentation of a genetic contribution of Amerindians to Polynesians that happened prior to the Peruvian slave trade in the 19th century. He detected two Amerindian-specific HLA alleles (A02:12 and B39:05) among unadmixed Easter Islanders. These alleles complement the otherwise-typical Polynesian pool of Easter Islanders. It’s unlikely that these alleles were more widespread in Polynesia in the past (as Thor Heyerdahl would want to have it).

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.”

I agree with the findings of this study. This is correct. Polynesians, the greatest mariners of the Ancient World, seem to have sailed all the way from Easter Island to Southern Chile and then sailed all the way back again. They probably picked up some Amerindians to take back with them along with the tuber and gourd. And it looks like they brought some chickens with them to South America.

Polynesians were the most amazing mariners. They had no modern steering instruments. They steered their ships by the stars!

Their genesis of course is from the Lapita people who originated in Taiwan. These people sailed from Taiwan to the Philippines and from there to Indonesia, New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia and then Polynesia.

31 Comments

Filed under Amerindians, Asia, Chile, Genetics, Indonesia, Micronesia, New Guinea, Oceanians, Pacific, Peru, Philippines, Polynesia, Polynesians, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, SE Asia, South America, Taiwan

31 responses to “Polynesians and Amerindians

  1. Jason Y

    NAMS capable of that? Why, they’re only good for food stamps and I’m sure food would run out at least a day or two into the voyage.

  2. pepperroncini

    I would go a step further and say they were the greatest mariners ever, considering what they had to work with, the desolate marine expanses they had to traverse and when you compare Polynesian maritime exploration to maritime exploration of everyone else in the same era.

    • Erik Sieven

      at least for the last 1000 years. human history goes back 200.000 years, yet about the time from 200 000 b.c. till 10.000 b.c. very little is known

  3. Noneofmany

    Funny you brought this up.

    I tried to e-mail you a question about my ancestry test results but it failed to go through.

    Since it’s about Pacific Islanders I’ll post here.

    The only question I didn’t ask in my E-mail is what you think of Polynesians as a minority. I know they have problems, but even before I found out about my Polynesian ancestor I never viewed them like black countries.

    They seem to have many redeeming qualities for low 80s IQ race.

    The ones I’ve met were very interesting people who had a lot interests inline with my own. They also cared a lot about the environment (they also seemed to treat their farm animals well), and were not litter bugs like some black and Mexican dominated areas, despite having comparable levels of poverty in many spots.

    This was the E-mail:

    Hey Robert. I was just wondering if you know much about people of Polynesian descent in Britain circa 1800.

    My aunt recently had an ancestry test done that revealed trace amounts of Pacific Islander blood in our otherwise completely Scandinavian, Eastern European, Russian and British ancestry.

    The strange thing is that none of my ancestors lived anywhere outside of Europe’s heartland and the British islands before they emigrated to the Americas during the late 1800’s.

    Moreover, neither side of my family lived anywhere like California or the southern gulf states / east coast shipping cities where sailors with Polynesian heritage would be likely to have married into our family.

    My ancestors got off on the east coast and more or less made B-line into the interior along the Canadian boarder until they hit the coast in the great state of Washington while few moved up into Canada’s western interior.

    Where could the Polynesian come from? Even in Britain There couldn’t have been many pacific Islanders 200+ years ago, but a descendent of an English sailor seems like the most obvious candidate.

    • High 80’s IQ race actually. IQ 87, the same as Amerindians.

      • Noneofmany

        Didn’t know that. Is that including all the ones with White/Asian admixture?

        Also, how easy is it to get a false positive for Polynesian DNA? Amerindians have a lot of sequences that resemble many groups from ancient Eurasia and so it’s easy to mistake unrelated sequences for their markers.

        I would imagine that doesn’t happen with Polynesians much. I’m guessing their genes are pretty darn distinctive compared to almost every other population on the planet.

        • I guess those are pure ones. Though I must say it is an interesting race. Some of them are highly intelligent, usually girls. The girls tend to be more roughhousing somewhat troublemaker types, but they do not do a lot of damage. Their crime rate is 2X the White rate, but Blacks are 7X. In Samoa, the traditional half has no crime and the modern Westernized half has a lot of crime, mostly property crime.

          Not sure how Polynesian got into your line. Maybe one of your ancestors married someone who had a bit of it.

  4. Polynesians have large penises.

  5. SD

    South Americans did not migrate from Siberia across a land bridge that once existed…an Aleut Inuit or Chippewa bears no resemblance to any Indians of the Amazon (Or blood type),

    They washed up from ancient sporadic migrations across the Pacific from who knows where. Probably Polynesia.

    As for Amerindian genes in Southeast Asia or Polynesia probably the Philippines got most of them through the galleon trade from Mexico,

    • jorge

      Where did you get that theory? I think that the Americas were populated from both regions: Polynesia first (and in a smaller number) and Siberia after (in bigger number and into two or three migration waves separated for centuries/thousands of years).

      Migrators that arrived from Polynesia maybe expanded to half South America (or even more) in migration waves of few people and, then, arrived from Central America descendants of Siberians (who were in expansion from north to south in much larger number of people) and mixed with them.

      Also there was contact between Polynesians and native South Americans but much after.

  6. SD

    I do not believe Indigenous Brazilians migrated from Siberia, which was once the accepted theory.

    It just seems impossible.

    • jorge

      Why not? Siberians, but especially descendants of those Siberians, expanded from north to south during thousands of years. The same, before, with migrators from Polynesia and, especially, their descendants, that expanded from Pacific coast to half South America, or more, but in a much smaller number, and in some moment arrived to the same place descedants of Siberians (who were much more) and mixed.

      Just a personal theory.

  7. SD

    Because in my 20 years in Asia I have noticed an Eskimo looks Korean and Brazilian Indian looks like Filipino Malay or Polynesian.

    Mayans, however, resembled neither.

    Mexicans are so mixed-Moroccan, Andalusian Spanish, American Indian, Jewish-it is hard to actually get a handle on where they are from.

    • jorge

      Mexico is mostly Amerindian and is you can see it in average phenotype (that is more Amerindian than white, clearly). And the vast mix down there was between natives and Spaniards. The rest are small minorities.

  8. SD

    Mexicans from North Mexico seem to possess more Moroccan Arab and Jewish Berber blood (In addition to Spanish, of course) than Indian. The actually amount of American Indian in a Mestizo from the Sonora desert is not that significant.

    As for Argentine people, most of the ones in other countries have Italian surnames and looks like you would see in Naples-but not as dark as a Sicilian.

    Madonna, an Italian-American, played Evita.

    • jorge

      Madonna has nothing to do. She simply did that role like any other actress could done and not only because Madonna have Italian ancestors.

      Obviously many Argentine seem Italian, like also many seem Spaniard, or Italian/Spaniard. But also it is common to see “mestizo” people that look more Amerindian than white, or people that look barely a bit more white than Amerindian.

  9. SD

    How significant is the Arab blood in Mexicans and South Americans? I know a small number of Jews and Arabs from Morocco were deported from Andalusia during the Colonial era.

    • jorge

      I have understood that, in Mexico, Middle Easterners and North Africans were a relevant quantity in colonial times. Also arrived many Libanese during 20th century.

      But Mexicans with a relevant ancestry from those regions are like 1%. Remember that, even with deaths by wars or, much more important, disease deaths, Amerindians continued being many. It was a region very populated before arrive of Spaniards. And Spaniards were more than Middle Easterners/North Africans in colonial times and, even more, in migration waves of 19th and 20th centuries.

      In Brazil there are some millions of descendants but probably are less than 5% of population (and almost all are partially descendants obviously).

      In Argentina are a bigger percentage, probably the higher in Central/South America, with almost 10% of population with some heritage from Middle East/North Africa.

      But most part of this people (in the few cases of little mix with another ethnicities) looks more like southern Italians or some Spaniards than Argentine indigenous.

  10. SD

    A North America who had not been to Argentina and lived in NYC or LA would be led to believe that 90% of Argentine people were of Italian origin because MANY Argentine people you meet OUTSIDE of Argentine are of Italian origin.

    Exactly why Argentine people of Italian origin are more likely than Indians to work in North America is a question I do not now the answer to.

    Certainly, the most Italian place in South America is Argentina.

    • jorge

      I am not sure if Argentina is more Italian than Uruguay.

      Probably not, because in Argentina we have a much larger population with indigenous ancestry (while in Uruguay that kind of ancestry is smaller and much older, so most part of them today looks simply like South European whites) and also a bigger percentage of people with ancestry from another regions of Europe, like France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, etc. They had immigrants from this countries too, but I think that in a lower percentage (and not with a big difference).

      Uruguay is like a little version of the Pampean region of Argentina (that is the whiter of the country), except that Uruguay have a bigger percentage of blacks (they are like 6% of population, while in all Argentina are 1%). Equally, last decades, big cities of Pampean region and some mid-sized cities receive many immigrants from the north of the country and from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, and most part of them are Amerindian or “mostly Amerindian” mestizos.

      About migration of Argentines, here most part of people who migrate to another countries are from middle-class. That’s why almost all are descendants of Italians and Spaniards.

  11. SD

    It should be stated that Argentine people abroad to my knowledge are no part of the Latin crime element.

    We do not here about “Cocaine Cowboys” with names like Diego Maradana from Argentine or drug gangs.

    In fact, most Argentine people in America seem to be engineers more than anything else.

    • jorge

      Like I said, most part of Argentines that migrate to other countries are middle-class people or high level students that go to study in some university (even sometimes are universities who lead them to their countries because the high level of this students). But the same can be applied to most part of South Americans in other countries (at least in Canada and United States in the case of South Americans) that, except for some drug traffickers, are middle-class/upper-class people or high level students from any social class.

      There is some working-class people in United States, maybe from Bolivia and Peru, but are few in comparation to other minorities, so probably they are not problematic.

      Where there are some South Americans involved in some kind of delinquency (included Argentines), is Spain, but I think that are not many, or at least, very far from the level of Mexicans and Central Americans in United States. And Spain receives more workin-class immigrants from South America than any other place (but I don’t know if are more than middle-class South Americans).

    • jorge

      And, because language, I did not understand very well what you said about “cocaine cowboys” (what are?) and Diego Maradona (not Maradana, ha), that is a worldwide famous Argentine former football player (most famous of all Argentines, except maybe Messi) and is very well known that is a former addict to cocaine.

  12. SD

    Colombians are known as Cocaine Cowboys for their savagery.

    Maradona was proud of his Italian roots and boasted of them when he appeared in New York.

    • jorge

      But those are a small part of Colombians, like I said. Most part probably are middle-class/upper-class quiet people.

      Maradona is mestizo, barely a bit more white than Amerindian. He never talk much about his European ancestry, in fact, he was proud of being a “black little head” (“cabecita negra”), how were called in the past in the Pampean region (especially in Buenos Aires) immigrants from north of the country and, for extension, much poor people, like him. That pejorative denomination appears due to the dark skin of thos immigrants, who were Amerindians or very mixed whites. Maradona was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Lanus (a city into the metropolitan area that surrounds Buenos Aires). His father was more Amerindian than white and was a worker that migrated to Buenos Aires from a town of Corrientes (a province in the northeast of the country), and his mother was white.

      His connection with Italy is strong because he played in Napoli, a football club of the city of the same name, that is in the south of Italy (the poor region of the country). It was a middle/small club that with him won some major trophies, and with this he became the maximum idol for the fans. Also he started to “defend” the south of Italy because was the poor region, and won many matches against big clubs (Internazionale, Juventus, Milan), that are from the rich north. So, is admired in the whole south of Italy, and, in Napoli, people is crazy for him.

      This is Maradona with his parents.

      He also have 2 brothers and 5 sisters.

  13. SD

    Colombians are the only major South American criminal element in the United States and are quite ruthless.

    Maradona was proud of his Italian roots. He appeared at Italian-American events in New York City.

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