DNA Research Adds to Knowledge of Pacific Seafarers

(From RNZ.co.nz)

The region was one of the last on Earth to be permanently settled by humans who used canoes to traverse hundreds of miles of open ocean.

Two different studies tracked changes over time in the genetic make-up of people inhabiting Vanuatu – regarded as a gateway to the rest of the Pacific.

Prof David Reich, from Harvard Medical School, said the region had a “tremendous” range of human diversity, adding that Vanuatu itself had an “extraordinary diversity of languages” in a relatively small area.

The number of languages spoken in the tiny island state is thought to number more than 130, though several are endangered with just a small number of speakers.

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