2017-10-13 14:57:50 UTC
New paleogenomic research conducted by an international team led by UC
Santa Cruz sheds light on those questions by ruling out the likelihood
that inhabitants of Easter Island intermixed with South Americans prior
to the arrival of Europeans on the island in 1722.
Lars Fehren-Schmitz, associate professor of anthropology at UC Santa
Cruz, presents his findings in a new paper published in the Oct. 12
edition of Current Biology.
The team analyzed bone fragments from the ancient skeletal remains of
five individuals that were excavated in the 1980s and became part of the
Kon-Tiki Museum's collection in Oslo. Each sample, which had been used
in a previous study, yielded less than 200 milligrams of material. Three
individuals lived prior to European contact, and two lived after.
"We found no evidence of gene flow between the inhabitants of Easter
Island and South America," said Fehren-Schmitz. "We were really
surprised we didn't find anything. There's a lot of evidence that seems
plausible, so we were convinced we would find direct evidence of
pre-European contact with South America, but it wasn't there."
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