Groundbreaking research into the origins of Polynesian people by Auckland University’s Lisa Matisoo-Smith has been published in the New York TimesNational Geographic, and Proceedings of the National Academy of  Sciences. Matisoo-Smith used the DNA of Pacific rats – both fossilised and contemporary – to create an extensive family tree mapping the migration paths of various Pacific peoples. Her findings appear to refute the popular “express train” theory – whereby Remote Oceania was settled in a matter of a few centuries – suggesting instead a slower and more interactive process. “The settlement of [the Pacific] was the last major human migration, and it seems to grab the public’s imagination,” says Matisoo-Smith. “But there are not simple answers. Like most human endeavors, the settlement of the Pacific was complex. And that complexity should be recognized and celebrated.”

Tags: Lisa Matisoo-Smith  National Geographic  New York Times (The)  Pacific rats  Polynesian  Remote Oceania  roceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  University of Auckland