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Population Genetics, Linguistics, and Culture History in the Southwest Pacific$
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Jonathan S. Friedlaender

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195300307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300307.001.0001

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Animal Translocations, Genetic Variation, and the Human Settlement of the Pacific

Animal Translocations, Genetic Variation, and the Human Settlement of the Pacific

Chapter:
(p.157) 10 Animal Translocations, Genetic Variation, and the Human Settlement of the Pacific
Source:
Population Genetics, Linguistics, and Culture History in the Southwest Pacific
Author(s):

Elizabeth Matisoo-Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300307.003.0010

This chapter presents a complementary genetic approach to population relationships across the Pacific, utilizing information from animals closely affiliated with humans. It describes how the analyses of genetic variation in commensals (the Pacific rat, pig, dog, and chicken) are being used as a proxy for understanding prehistoric human mobility and contacts. In particular, mitochondrial DNA studies of the Pacific rat, Rattus exulans, are providing intriguing insight into the relationships and level of interactions among Near and Remote Oceanic human populations. These are also providing valuable data on the timing and degree of population interactions in the region. The basic conclusion of this work is that there has been considerably more continued interaction between populations in different areas of the Pacific than many suspected before, and this includes interactions between Near and Remote Oceania.

Keywords:   commensals, Pacific rat, dog, chicken, pig, domesticates, population interactions, Near Oceania, Remote Oceania

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