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Genetic markers link Brazil and Polynesia

A genetic link between the people of Brazil and Polynesia suggests that people from those areas were trading with each other thousands of years ago. One broad group of these Palaeoamericans — the Botocudo people, who lived in inland regions of southeastern Brazil — stands out, having skull shapes that were

Sweet potatoes reveal ancient contact between Polynesians and South Americans

By conducting genetic research on modern sweet potatoes with on ones preserved by the first European explorers in Polynesia, archaeologists have revealed that thousands of years ago Polynesian sailors must have come into contact with South Americans as the root vegetable was first domesticated in Peru. Humans domesticated the sweet potato

DNA analysis reveals more about Maori settlement

DNA found in the teeth of the first known New Zealanders has been examined to shed some light on how Polynesia was settled. The researchers ground the teeth to a fine powder and dissolved the powder to release mitochondrial DNA. After being purified, the DNA was sequenced using a new technology

Last Kon-Tiki raft crewman dies

Knut Haugland, the last crewman of the Kon-Tiki voyage across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft in 1947, has died. The explorer died of natural causes in Oslo's hospital, the Kon-Tiki museum director said. The expedition was launched from Peru by anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl to demonstrate that South Americans could

Easter Island’s red-hatted statues

Archaeologists have figured out where the red hats that sit on top of many of Easter Island's stone heads came from. They pieced together a series of clues to discover how the statues got their red hats. An axe, a road, and an ancient volcano led to their findings. Dr Richards said: