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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Did Early Americans help colonise Easter Island?

It would seem the answer is yes. New genetic evidence has proved this disputed theory correct. Well parts of it.

We know that Polynesia was colonised from Asia as there is tons of evidence for this but Thor Heyerdahl had another theory. He saw similarities in the famous statues of Easter Island to those from South America. He also sailed a wood raft from Peru to the Tuamotu islands of French Polynesia to show that it was possible.

Erik Thorsby (from the University of Oslo) has found evidence to support some of Heyerdahl's theory. He did this by collecting "blood samples from Easter Islanders whose ancestors had not interbred with Europeans and other visitors to the island" (source). And some of these tests showed that Easter Islanders carried HLA genes that was "only previously found in Native American populations" (source).

For more genetic information on this study, click here.

Fascinating research!

Fun facts:

* Easter Island has a very rich collection of Petroglyphs.


* Jacob Roggeveen found (first recorded visitor) the Island on Easter Sunday 1722 and thus gave the name Paasch-Eyland meaning Easter Island.


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