From Tahiti to Shanghai




A study led by Dr. Geoffrey Chambers of Victoria University concluded that the ancestors of Polynesian people first migrated from Taiwan and China to the Philippines and Indonesia, then to West Polynesia and East Polynesia, and then to New Zealand. Chambers analyzed DNA data that had originally been collected for a study on genetics and alcoholism.

The DNA profiles in Chamber’s study showed that there is less genetic diversity in Polynesians than in other groups. For example, the probability of finding two individuals with the same DNA profile is 1 in 112 million for Asians, and 1 in 47 million for Caucasians, but only 1 in 6.7 million for Polynesians.

Researchers theorize that these lower rates of genetic diversity are a result of the fact that Polynesians, sailing voyaging canoes to inhabit remote Pacific islands were very isolated from other races. There are more than 20,000 islands throughout the Pacific Ocean, which is 25% larger than all the world’s land combined. The Polynesians settled many of these distant and isolated islands.
(“DNA Research on Polynesian Origins and Migrations” )


Given the wide 95% credible regions associated with these age estimates, one cannot, on the basis of these data, confidently rule out either a Taiwanese or even a Melanesian origin for the Polynesians, especially given that much of island Melanesia has yet to be sampled. Nevertheless, they lend little support to the “express train” model. The most likely explanation for these data is that, although the ancestry of the motif goes back to the Southeast Asian Pleistocene era, the Polynesian expansion itself did not originate in either Taiwan or southern China but within tropical island Southeast Asia—most probably in eastern Indonesia, somewhere between southeastern Borneo and the Moluccas, given the almost complete absence of the full motif in western Indonesia and the Philippines (Melton et al. Melton et al., 1995; Sykes et al. Sykes et al., 1995). This might also explain the appearance of the motif in Madagascar, in a population speaking an Austronesian language more closely related to Indonesian than to Polynesian languages (Soodyall et al. Soodyall et al., 1995). It is consistent with the hypothesis that the Austronesian languages originated within island Southeast Asia during the Pleistocene era and spread through Melanesia and into the remote Pacific within the past 6,000 years.
(Martin Richards, Stephen Oppenheimer and Bryan Sykes “mtDNA Suggests Polynesian Origins in Eastern Indonesia” The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 63, Issue 4, 1234-1236, 1 October 1998 )
瀬戸内の民俗誌―海民史の深層をたずねて (岩波新書)

瀬戸内の民俗誌―海民史の深層をたずねて (岩波新書)