Polynesian controversies and genetic evidence

Yuri Kuchinsky yuku at globalserve.net
Mon Jan 4 14:25:05 EST 1999

G Horvat (gisele at connect.ab.ca) wrote on Sun, 03 Jan 1999 09:04:50 GMT:
: On 30 Dec 1998 19:26:23 GMT, yuku at globalserve.net (Yuri Kuchinsky)
: wrote:

: >: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/issues/v63n2/970649/970649.html
: >
: >I have read this article. Thanks for pointing it out.

: Your synopsis was sufficient to convince me to familiarize myself with
: the movements in the Pacific.  

: The Austronesian language family was spread out from Madagascar to
: Polynesia, the yam and other American cultivars from South America to
: New Guinea,


Be careful about nomenclature here. Kumara is not the same as yam. Kumara
is sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). Here's some basic info that is
available on the net.



Potato:  the plant Solanum tuberosum, and its edible tuber.  Indigenous
         to the northern Andes.  The English name for this vegetable
         comes from the Spanish "patata" from the Taino name "batata"
         for the sweet potato - possibly the first of many confusions
         between these two unrelated vegetables.

Sweet Potato:  the plant Ipomoea batatas and its edible tuber. Ipomoea
               batatas is a tropical vine found in tropical Asia, across
               the South Pacific and in Central America.  It was
               introduced to Europe from the Caribbean.  The name
               "kumara" is used both in Peru and in Polynesian languages
               and is the common name also in New Zealand English where
               it is pronounced COO-ma-ra with the stress on the first

Yam:  (a) plants of the genus Dioscorea and their edible tubers.  They
          are tropical climbing plants indigenous to Asia and the
          starchy tubers of various species vary from smaller than
          typical potatoes and sweet potatoes to very much larger.  Yams
          are a source of the starch arrowroot.
      (b) in parts of the U.S., the usage apparently varying with
          locality, certain varieties of sweet potato.  Asking on the
          Net for the difference between yams and other sweet potatoes,
          and asking which is "better", is liable to result in a raging
          religious war and very little enlightenment.
      (c) in India both the Amorphophallus or "elephant" yam, and the
          Colocasia yam which is similar to the taro.
      (d) in New Zealand, the small edible tubers of the plant Oxalis
          tuberosa which are known elsewhere as "oka" (not to be
          confused with okra).

[end quote]

: the Lapita ceramics from Melanesia to parts of Polynesia
: but in regards to mtDNA, the closest genetic affinities were found in
: the extreme western and eastern portions of the Pacific (!)

: I think your assertion that the Lapita people did not contribute to
: the Polynesian mtDNAs may be supported, genetically, although I wasn't
: able to find a lot of information on the subject.  

Now, this is very significant. See below for some more evidence.

: First some background...
: 94% Polynesians were found to have the 9-bp deletion and 3 HVS-I
: variants which have been called the Polynesian motif.  This 9-bp
: deletion has been found in many east Asian populations from Mongolia
: or Japan in the North to Northern Australia in the south and in
: throughout most of the Americas.  Since the Polynesian motif has been
: found in 20% of East Indonesians, this 9-bp deletion is not generally
: thought to have been an independent event.  The populations that have
: this 9-bp deletion therefore cover a very large area, perhaps 1/3 or
: more of the world.  Since the Lapita people are believed to have begun
: somewhere in the middle of these two land masses and are believed to
: have contributed significantly (totally?) to the Polynesian mtDNAs, it
: must have been quite a surprise to find the 9-bp deletion lacking in
: this general area.

That's for sure.

: Archaeologically, Lapita ceramics are believed to have originated in
: the Bismark Archipelago and travelled to Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga
: between 3500 and 3200 BP.  As indicated by the abstract below, the
: 9-bp deletion (Asian length mutation) was absent in the oldest samples
: of Fiji, Samoa and Tongo.

: "A previously characterized Asian-specific mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
: length mutation has been detected in DNA isolated from prehistoric
: human bones from Polynesia, including Hawaii, Chatham Islands and
: Society Islands. In contrast, the Asian mutation was absent in
: skeletal samples from the Melanesian archipelagos of New Britain and
: Vanuatu and in the oldest samples from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in the
: central Pacific (2700-1600 years BP) although it was present in a more
: recent prehistoric sample from Tonga."

: Genetic Polymorphisms in Prehistoric Pacific Islanders  Determined by
: Analysis of Ancient Bone DNA.
: - Hagelberg, E.; Clegg, J.B. (E Hagelberg; Univ Oxford; John Radcliffe
: Hosp; Inst Molec Med; MRC; Molec Haematol Unit; Oxford OX3 9DU,
: England).

: So, for what it's worth, that's all I found...  

In my view, this whole area of study is extremely confused. It is really
difficult to see what's going on here, and the reason, I believe, is
because of all the dishonesty and cover-ups so prevalent among
professional Polynesianists.

I've already pointed out the BASIC IRRATIONALITY of arguing about "Express
Trains" vs "Entangled Banks" while _at the same time_ accepting the Lapita
origin of Polynesians without question. This perhaps represents in a
nutshell the basic DISCONNECTION of modern Polynesian anthropology from
the real world. 

How can one uphold the Express Train theory _while also accepting_ the
Lapita origin? Beats me...

But here's where the professional Polynesianists are really caught with
their pants down. The Lapita skeletons are available, and have been
tested. The results of these tests DO NOT provide mtDNA support for
Lapita-Polynesian continuity. This is where support is supposed to be. But
it's not there. 

I already wrote about this before. Here's an old post


This was based on:

Blackwell Publishers, 1997.

And also:

DR. ED VISSER (Dept. of Anatomy and Structural Biology) and DR. MICHAEL
GREEN (Dept. of Anthropology), University of Otago.  MORPHOLOGICAL AND 

The brutal truth is that neither the osteological nor DNA evidence is
there to support the Lapita origin.

So why are the geneticists still going out to Asia and Indonesia trying to
validate our mainstream anthropological incompetents? Direct support
should have come from the Lapita skeletons. It didn't. 

The whole thing is a joke. Mainstream Polynesianist dogmas are incoherent
and quite absurd. Especially absurd are the Entangled Bank theorising, and
the Lapita origins theorising. Now, the Express Train makes a little bit
more sense. I've already noted that the Heyerdahl hypothesis may be
considered as a version of Express Train. According to him, Polynesians
did come from East Asia, but they came to Polynesia via the American NW
Coast (this is why they have so little in common with the Melanesians!).
Because this is how the ocean currents are flowing in North Pacific.

The alternative version of Polynesian history as formulated by Heyerdahl
makes a lot of sense to me. Geneticists will eventually find even more
supporting evidence for this, I believe.



Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.globalserve.net/~yuku

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than
to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith

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