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Ancient DNA from Guam and the peopling of the Pacific

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Pugach,  Irina
Human Population History, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Hübner,  Alexander
Human Population History, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;
Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Meyer,  Matthias
Advanced DNA Sequencing Techniques, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Stoneking,  Mark
Human Population History, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Pugach_Ancient_PNAS_2020.pdf
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Citation

Pugach, I., Hübner, A., Hung, H.-c., Meyer, M., Carson, M. T., & Stoneking, M. (2020). Ancient DNA from Guam and the peopling of the Pacific. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(1): e202211211. doi:10.1073/pnas.2022112118.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-9BA4-1
Abstract
We know more about the settlement of Polynesia than we do about the settlement of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific. There is debate over where people came from to get to the Marianas, with various lines of evidence pointing to the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, or the Bismarck Archipelago, and over how the ancestors of the present Mariana Islanders, the Chamorro, might be related to Polynesians. We analyzed ancient DNA from Guam from two skeletons dating to ˜2,200 y ago and found that their ancestry is linked to the Philippines. Moreover, they are closely related to early Lapita skeletons from Vanuatu and Tonga, suggesting that the early Mariana Islanders may have been involved in the colonization of Polynesia.Humans reached the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific by ˜3,500 y ago, contemporaneous with or even earlier than the initial peopling of Polynesia. They crossed more than 2,000 km of open ocean to get there, whereas voyages of similar length did not occur anywhere else until more than 2,000 y later. Yet, the settlement of Polynesia has received far more attention than the settlement of the Marianas. There is uncertainty over both the origin of the first colonizers of the Marianas (with different lines of evidence suggesting variously the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, or the Bismarck Archipelago) as well as what, if any, relationship they might have had with the first colonizers of Polynesia. To address these questions, we obtained ancient DNA data from two skeletons from the Ritidian Beach Cave Site in northern Guam, dating to ˜2,200 y ago. Analyses of complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequences and genome-wide SNP data strongly support ancestry from the Philippines, in agreement with some interpretations of the linguistic and archaeological evidence, but in contradiction to results based on computer simulations of sea voyaging. We also find a close link between the ancient Guam skeletons and early Lapita individuals from Vanuatu and Tonga, suggesting that the Marianas and Polynesia were colonized from the same source population, and raising the possibility that the Marianas played a role in the eventual settlement of Polynesia.All data used in this paper are in the main text or in the SI Appendix. The new data reported in this paper have been deposited in the European Nucleotide Archive, https://www.ebi.ac.uk/ena/browser/home (accession no. PRJEB40707).