Pacific Islanders’ Ancestry Emerges in Genetic Study

This one seems to claim the majority of Micros and Polys came from places like TAIWAN not Indonesia and Melanesia. I come to think that maybe the majority excluding Yap and Palau. Since it says the aboriginese were inhabiting Australia before the Polys and Micros moving up from places like Taiwan, then I will believed the carbon dating in YAP was valid. That maybe the Melanesian occupied all the islands first then down to Yap and Palau. This theory might be right but now its confusing to the carbon dating of tools and materials tested and discovered in Bikini atoll dated back to the 1900 and 1600s BC. If all these data says too many different things, I am wondering if you still believed all that stated in history books? lol......


Published: January 18, 2008
The ancestral relationships of people living in the widely scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean, long a puzzle to anthropologists, may have been solved by a new genetic study, researchers reported Thursday.

In an analysis of the DNA of 1,000 individuals from 41 Pacific populations, an international team of scientists found strong evidence showing that Polynesians and Micronesians in the central and eastern islands had almost no genetic relationship to Melanesians, in the western islands like Papua New Guinea and the Bismarck and Solomons archipelagos.

The researchers also concluded that the genetic data showed that the Polynesians and Micronesians were most closely related to Taiwan Aborigines and East Asians. They said this supported the view that these migrating seafarers originated in Taiwan and coastal China at least 3,500 years ago.

The findings were described in the online journal Public Library of Science Genetics ( by researchers led by Jonathan S. Friedlaender, professor emeritus of biological anthropology at Temple University. He was assisted in the data analysis by his wife, Françoise R. Friedlaender, an independent researcher. Other participants included scientists in the islands and at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wis.

“Our analysis,” the scientists wrote, “indicates the ancestors of Polynesians moved through Melanesia relatively rapidly and only intermixed to a very modest degree with the indigenous populations there.”

Dr. Friedlaender of Temple said in an interview that the evidence was “substantial” and “solves a number of issues about the migration and settlement of Pacific people.”

In particular, he and other anthropologists not involved in the study said, the genetic research supported the “fast train” hypothesis. Increasing archaeological and linguistic evidence in recent years has suggested that ancestors of Micronesians and Polynesians had moved through Indonesia and Melanesia without having any significant contact there, culturally or genetically.

An alternative argument, the “slow boat” hypothesis, which had some support from male Y chromosome studies, raised the possibility that Polynesians were primarily Melanesians who had ventured on in their outrigger canoes. And a few anthropologists despaired of ever solving the mystery. Theirs was the “entangled bank” hypothesis.

The new genetic research, said Patrick V. Kirch, an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who is an authority on Pacific cultures, was “overwhelming biological evidence for a clear population movement out of Southeast Asia and Taiwan to Polynesia.”

Dr. Kirch, who did not participate in the genetic study, said that it reinforced research showing that Polynesian speech patterns were unrelated to Melanesian languages, suggesting — along with discoveries of the distinctive Lapita pottery across the Pacific — links to Taiwan and China, not Melanesia. “The combination of evidence shows we really can read this history,” he said.

As Dr. Friedlaender said, “If it wasn’t exactly an express train, it was pretty fast, and very few passengers climbed aboard or got off along the way.”

In the research, scientists examined more than 800 genetic markers known to be useful in distinguishing the ancestry of people. These involved mitochondrial DNA, passed down through females, and the Y chromosomes in males. Previous investigations along these lines had been conducted on a much smaller scale, Dr. Friedlaender said.

The new test results were repeatedly analyzed with a software program recently developed to classify genetic similarities and variations among different populations.

Primary support for the study was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation of Anthropological Research, the National Geographic Society and the National Institutes of Health.

Further research to confirm the history of the Pacific diaspora, Dr. Friedlaender said, would require an expansion of genetic tests among people in the Philippines and Indonesia, regions that the migrants presumably passed through after leaving Taiwan more than 3,500 years ago, ultimately reaching as far as Hawaii and Easter Island. The Melanesians, on the other hand, probably arrived on their islands about 35,000 years ago, sometime later than the Aborigines reached Australia.

Years ago, a reporter who visited the Marshall Islands asked an aging Micronesian chief where his people came from long, long ago. “We have always been here,” he replied. Now, if it matters to them, his descendants have been given a more scientific answer.


  • Thanks for the article!
    Very intresting one
  • Anything from Temple University in not a good source. That school is run by brothers and sisters, therefore, their info is not reliable. Temple University is locate in one of the troubling areas over there in Philadelphia,PA. Lots of drugs, sex, crimes, and bulling on their campus. Medical Doctors and the Nurses walked out last year from their jobs caused too many patients die due to lack of cares. Now Temple is cited as a good source of data? Anything from North Philadelphia where Temple is, is corrupted. including John Streeter, and DA Ann Abraham
  • LOl,
    I get confused with Ann and the DA Lynn Abraham. she corrupted the city as well. both DAs anyway!
  • Crocodile,
    Do you clean your bookshelf? Discussing sources from 2008 in 2010.... I don't know.
  • In order to understand 2010, its not wrong to discuss 2008. lol...we can discuss 2010 but in the future, you cannot discuss 2012 if you moved on without understanding'll see yourself discussing 2010 in 2012.
  • Crocodile,
    You've sure been doing some historical news research lately. :)
  • I sure did delta lol.... I have to collect news, articles, books and all sort of references that hold tiny clues of our island histories. Soon to travel to Spain, Germany and hopefully Portugal.

    Ive read a lot writings on our culture and histories and due to the different views and understanding a writer perceived of our islands. It creates a lot of errors and many different perspective from what actually happen or was in place. My goal is to prove the errors with evidence and so the expert and successful scholars can recorrect the many writings and histories of our islands.
  • wow very interesting read
  • Interesting...but I've heard too much about genetic studies. I want to know how our languages came to be...ANYONE?
  • Our Languages came to be from a specific isolated or not fruquent visited islands.

    Phillipines have many different languages because they have many different islands just like the Pacific Islands. A group of people on a remoted island will always formulate a language of their own. In the phillipines, they engage in warfare just like our islands in Micronesia back then so there were many different groups of enemies on many different remoted islands. Therefore, they'll speak a different language as they live and trap on a point of location, associated, mingle, and interact among themselves for many years.

    India is a big Country with many different languages, and cultures. Before the discovery of India, they live few miles away from each other and never knowing for hundreds years. They don't get out of their village and walk far due to many different believes and so being trap in a remoted village, associated, mingle, andn interact among themselves for many years. They have many different cultures and speak different languages.

    So do Micronesia, distant from one another for hundred miles because of the great vast ocean water that accomodate us and maybe of the many warfares we engaged back in our days. If you look clearly at the Marshall islands, places where they live close by each other have almost the same language that they can understand each other with different dialect. The islands that are much far in distance is a bit hard to understand and its the same deal with the Carolinian Islands.

    The reason why now (CHUUK STATE) have many similarities and can understand a lot of island languages is due to the fact that we're frequently visiting all neighboring islands doing trade and engage in wars. We navigate a lot that our language and decentants are now all over the places. CHUUK, is more of a stationary point of location to where islands who doesnt have much resources will come to, seeking for a trade or to aid themselves with other resources. The reason why the Carolinian tiny islands understand the Carolinians in the Marianas more is because of the fact that they start visiting the Marianas Islands more than Chuuk and their frequent visit and supplies were from the Marianas due to their size comparing to Chuuk.

    Chuuk was frequently visited but not as much as the Carolinian were giving to the Marianas. Only in time of shortcut sails and urgent return trips that they route their sails to Chuuk and immediately back to the islands. However, when the Japanese ban sails from the islands to the Marianas. The Carolinian pay visit only to Chuuk and completely stop sailing to the Marianas so now the LANGUAGE similarities get intact once again....

    Portugese and Spannish language have a lot of influence in Mexico, South America and at one time in the Phillipines and almost survive in GUAM. Due to the multiple count of years of influence and interactions from different type of people with different language, Chamorros create a whole different language of their own that is a mixed of Spannish, old Mexico, lil terms of the Carolinian. The Phillipines created Tagalog to communicate and now the South American and many other indonesian islands still remain to speak portugal.

    English is worldwide dominant because they exhale themselves and take control of places for quite a long time. They enforce the teaching of english to help them understand better.

    Okinawa was once speak their own language being the center point of travel between China and Japan with a mixed of culture of their own and cultural influences from China and Japan in their writings character and simple custom. TODAY!! Okinawan speak Japanese since they become an island of the EMPIRE OF JAPAN. Only few elders speak their language and soon to be extinct.
  • Croc,

    Nobody is "enforcing" the teaching of English. It's actually a positive feedback, where the more stuff that gets written in English (especially scientific and technical writings), the more people want to learn it.
  • delta,

    I didnt meant a negative feedback. Also, nobody can't just want to learn scientific and technical writings without understanding english first. US establish an english school system in FSM like other places, once they learn ENGLISH they'll finally want to learn it upon understanding what scientific and technical writings.

    Lets put the few western individuals who learned Navigation in the same picture. They tried to learned the language in order to understand island navigation though most of them have translator to explain in english instead of the other way around. So in away, it is a lot easier for them to learn such skills through a translator who can speak english because the language was already taught. They used english to help them understand better.
  • We're actually from Southeast Asia.The migration originally started from Taiwan.Both Micronesians and Polynesians are Majority of Asian decent with only few of us mixed with some parts of Melanesian people within their coastal regions.

    Our lapitan ancestors are from SOUTHEAST ASIA.WE'RE ASIANS.Period.

    Scientists have already concluded this with recent discoveries and DNA testing across our regions.

    We aren't "Lumerians" "Israelites/Neptali tribe" bull crap people like you spew.Go back to school and learn something.
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