Genes, Language, & Culture History in the Southwest Pacific
Edited by Jonathan S. Friedlaender
The broad arc of islands north of Australia, extending from Indonesia in the east towards the central Pacific is home to a set of remarkably diverse human populations (approximately 20% of the world's languages are spoken here.) The authors have used an intensive sampling strategy to reveal the complex structure of the variation of various human populations within and among the islands in this relatively small region.
The findings in this book make significant contributions to understanding early human migrations out of Africa. Researchers reveal an unexpected abundance of genetics variation within Island Melanesia, as the region is known, and this information related directly to the early peopling of broader regions including Polynesia, Australia, and South Asia. The book shows how scientists have found mtDNA variants that are part of the earliest basal branches of the Eurasian mt DNA tree; these are some of the very earliest "Out of Africa" genetic traces and have not been identified anywhere else.