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The Incas, explorers of the Pacific


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#61    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

View PostEverdred, on 15 January 2013 - 08:10 AM, said:

For both sets of samples they found mtDNA to be exclusively Polynesian, while the Y-DNA was mostly Polynesian with a few samples having European haplotypes.

I think I'm not understanding something. If the sample contains European DNA, and some Europeans had Amerind slaves, how can they be certain the Amerind DNA didn't get inserted into the Easter Island gene pool at the same time the European did? 'Slaves and masters both having it off with the locals' sort of thing.


#62    Everdred

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:11 AM

View PostPersonFromPorlock, on 15 January 2013 - 11:05 PM, said:

I think I'm not understanding something. If the sample contains European DNA, and some Europeans had Amerind slaves, how can they be certain the Amerind DNA didn't get inserted into the Easter Island gene pool at the same time the European did? 'Slaves and masters both having it off with the locals' sort of thing.

There are a couple reasons they think this isn't the case.  First of all, there was limited contact with the island until the mid-19th century, which just consisted of European ships arriving for brief periods.  There are records of some these ships, including information about crews and passengers, but no evidence indicating the presence of Amerindians.  But even if there were some as slaves, it's unlikely that they're going to allowed off to shag the locals--they didn't generally treat their slaves that well.  In the case of this study, most of the individuals sampled have documented lineages back to one male born in 1816, which means the European Y-DNA must predate the period of significant contact and the subsequent slave trade (assuming, of course, that the documented lineages are in fact accurate).

But there is also good reason to suggest the Amerindian admixture is quite old based on several observations regarding the HLA typing.  In the sample set taken in 1971, the researchers found two different haplotypes amongst the individuals that carried Amerindian-specific alleles.  Firstly, while much of the sample set included individuals of one large family, there were also other unrelated individuals, and both haplotypes were observed in unrelated individuals, meaning that they must predate the starting point of the lineage mentioned above (1816) by at least a generation, and probably more.  Secondly, the second haplotype includes both Amerindian-specific alleles and Polynesian-specific alleles, which is most likely due to recombination.  As recombination is relatively rare, it's likely that the admixture was quite old.  And finally the Amerindian-specific alleles occur together in the same haplotype amongst Easter Islanders, but not amongst Amerindians, which suggests that they must have diverged in the Amerindian populations following the admixture with the Easter Islanders.

So none of those reasons conclusively places the admixture before European contact, but each is on its own suggestive of an early date for the admixture, and thus when taken together make a strong, though not conclusive, case for it.


#63    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:31 PM

This is probably irelevant but perhaps...

James Cook called Hawaii Islands-Sandwich Islands. We know that on his ship there was Polynesians. Perhaps they called it. Perhaps not.
But from where he get that name?  If look to him like sandwich then might have been to Inca too.

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#64    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, was a sponsor of Cook. From Wikipedia:

Lord Sandwich was a great supporter of Captain James Cook. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Sandwich approved Admiralty funds for the purchase and fit-out of the Resolution, Adventure and Discovery for Cook’s second and third expeditions of exploration in the Pacific Ocean. In honour of Sandwich, Captain Cook named the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) after him, as well as Montague Island off the south east coast of Australia, the South Sandwich Islands in the Southern Atlantic Ocean and Montague Island in the Gulf of Alaska.[24]


#65    Abramelin

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

View PostHarte, on 15 January 2013 - 10:42 PM, said:

The sweet potato makes a good argument for some sort of contact, but it proves nothing because, though the plant is usually propagated through cuttings, the fact is, it can be propagated through seeds.  But floating is not the only way to get seeds across an ocean.  Birds do that too.

Problem is, in either case there should be sweet potatoes on Pacific Islands in between.  AFAIK, there are not.

Harte

There's another thing: chickens.


We can all predict what would happen if a chicken attempted to fly across the Pacific Ocean: it would not get far before becoming shark bait. How, then, did domestic chickens, which are native to Southeast Asia, find their way to South America?

The remains of a 600-year-old chicken dinner excavated from an ancient rubbish dump have solved the mystery of whether chickens were originally transported to South America by the first Spanish explorers or by trans-Pacific human voyagers long before the arrival of the earliest Europeans in the New World.

The Spanish explorer hypothesis has long been popular, but historians have long known of a perplexing wrinkle to that idea: early accounts reveal that when Spanish conquistadores led by Francisco Pizzaro first entered the Inca Empire in 1532, in what is now Peru, they found the Incas already raising lots of familiar- looking domestic chickens. Inca religious rituals also featured chickens. It is hard to reconcile this familiarity if the Incas had obtained chickens by long-distance trade only a few decades earlier, after Columbus and other Europeans first made landfall.

The other possibility is that the Inca chickens were the descendants of birds transported across the Pacific much earlier by Polynesian, or perhaps Chinese, sailors. This has been a controversial and often maligned idea in archaeological circles, in part because of the long history of incorrectly invoking long-distance connections among the major human civilizations on different continents.

The solution to the chicken mystery lies in bones recently excavated from an archaeological site called El Arenal, which is situated about two miles inland from the coast of central Chile. Radiocarbon dating of the chicken bones themselves, along with archeological dating of the artifacts they were found with, firmly date them to no later than 1425 A.D. and probably earlier—decades before Columbus first landed in America.

Just by itself, this early date indicates that chickens made it to South America before the Spanish. But where did they come from? The researchers went further and compared snippets of DNA from the Chilean bones with those of modern chickens and of bones from Polynesian archeological sites on Pacific islands. They found that the Chilean chickens were very closely related to those raised by early Polynesians. This finding firmly implicates Polynesian voyagers as the source of the earliest South American chickens. This discovery is especially notable because it provides some of the first hard evidence of contact between Polynesians and the pre-Columbian civilizations of South America.

The Inca chickens Pizarro observed were almost certainly descendants of birds transported across the Pacific over the course of nearly 3,000 years, via the steady island-by-island colonizations of Polynesian settlers. The DNA evidence further suggests that at least one present- day breed of chickens, the ear-tufted Araucana, which was derived from Chilean stock, is at least partially descended from Polynesian chicken ancestors.


http://www.allaboutb...e.aspx?pid=1030


#66    Harte

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

View PostAbramelin, on 18 January 2013 - 11:48 AM, said:

There's another thing: chickens.


We can all predict what would happen if a chicken attempted to fly across the Pacific Ocean: it would not get far before becoming shark bait. How, then, did domestic chickens, which are native to Southeast Asia, find their way to South America?

They didn't:

Quote

However, a new analysis of those chicken bones, published in the July 29 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that the Chilean chicken didn't come from Polynesia after all. Moreover, the bones aren't as old as the original investigators thought.
Jaime Gongora of the University of Sydney, Australia, and a number of colleagues looked at a larger sample of chickens and found that the DNA closely matched that of chickens present in Europe.
The radiocarbon date for the bones appeared to be older than it actually is because the chicken had eaten shellfish and shell grit that contaminated the bones with older carbon. The authors of the original report hadn't taken this contamination into account.
So the pre-Columbian Polynesian chicken in Chile is neither pre-Columbian nor Polynesian. Paraphrasing the great English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley: Another beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact.
Source

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#67    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

View PostHarte, on 18 January 2013 - 05:36 PM, said:

They didn't:


Source

Harte

One other point: chickens are such useful creatures (meat, eggs, feathers) that if they'd been present in the Americas very long they'd have been ubiquitous.

Of course, there's no telling what Prince Madoc brought with him. :innocent:


#68    Abramelin

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

View PostHarte, on 18 January 2013 - 05:36 PM, said:

They didn't:


Source

Harte

OK, then we are stuck with walls constructed using polygonal blocks (Inca style) on Easter Island and the 'kumaras'.


.

Edited by Abramelin, 18 January 2013 - 07:56 PM.


#69    Everdred

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:14 AM

View PostHarte, on 18 January 2013 - 05:36 PM, said:

They didn't:


Source

Harte

That's actually a crap article.

Here's the original publication of the Chilean chicken mtDNA: http://www.pnas.org/...4/25/10335.full

Here's the publication of the critique of which your article refers: http://www.pnas.org/...5/30/10308.full

And here's the rebuttal from the authors of the original article: http://www.pnas.org/...105/48/E99.full

The latter is rather short so I'll quote it in full:

Quote

Recently Gongora et al. (1) stated that their analyses of chicken mtDNA and potential offsets for dietary marine carbon cast doubt on “claims for pre-Columbian chickens” in the Americas. We present additional data supporting the interpretation of Storey et al. (2) showing that evidence for pre-Columbian chickens at the site of El Arenal, Chile, is secure.

Gongora et al. (1) analyzed mtDNA of modern chickens only. They gave no consideration to the fact that both European and prehistoric Pacific chickens are ultimately Asian-derived and thus may be expected to share lineages. European stocks were further influenced by the 19th-century import of Chinese chickens to develop commercial and show breeds (3). The authors also imply that the Indian/Asian/European mtDNA signature identified in our ancient Pacific and Chilean samples would not have been available for dispersal to the prehistoric Pacific. This is refuted by linguistic, archaeological, and ethnohistoric evidence (4).

Ultimately, the question rests on the antiquity of the El Arenal chickens. We have directly dated and sequenced two additional chicken bones from the site, which is not a shell midden as claimed (1). Stable isotope determinations (δ 13C, δ 15N, and δ 34S) further confirm a terrestrial dietary signature; thus, no marine calibration of the dates is required (Table 1). All dates obtained from the site are securely pre-Columbian (even at 2σ), consistent with the stratigraphic and artifactual evidence. Therefore, the most parsimonious explanation continues to be that chickens were first introduced to South America by Polynesian voyagers as part of a well-documented eastward expansion.

So the dating was questioned on the basis of possible marine contamination.  That was a stupid suggestion in the first place because the original carbon dating matched the contextual dating of the finds (established through relative dating of stratigraphy, artifactual association with a known cultural complex, and thermoluminescence dating of pottery finds), which was definitely pre-Columbian.  But the authors in their rebuttal were kind enough to completely destroy the possibility of contamination with an isotope analysis.  So these bones are directly and indirectly dated as pre-Columbian.

The mtDNA evidence should thus be viewed within this context.  Gongora et al. did a fine job demonstrating that most modern Chilean chickens probably have little to no genetic influence from pre-Columbian Chilean chickens.  But their point that the haplotype of the sequenced El Arenal specimen is common all over the world does not prove Spanish origin--and indeed since the tested specimen was definitely pre-Columbian, we know it isn't.  The earlier comparisons from Storey et al. showed that this haplotype was indeed present in prehistoric Polynesia, which means that Polynesia remains the most likely source for the origin of the pre-Columbian chicken in South America.



And in response to PersonFromPorlock, let me quote the first article:

Quote

Argument about the origins and date of introduction of the domestic fowl or chicken (Gallus gallus) to the Americas has raged for over 30 years. Despite claims that it might be native to the region (1), it has never been recovered or reported from paleontological, Paleo-Indian, or, until now, prehistoric archaeological contexts in the Americas. A Portuguese or Spanish introduction to the east coast of South America around AD 1500 has been suggested (2), but when Pizarro reached Peru in 1532, he found that chickens were already an integral part of Incan economy and culture, suggesting at least some history of chickens in the region. Consequently, there have been numerous suggestions of a pre-European chicken introduction to the west coast of South America (3–5), in which both Asian and Polynesian contacts have been proposed (1, 4, 6). Here, we provide the first unequivocal evidence for a pre-European introduction of chickens to South America and indicate, through ancient DNA evidence, that the likely source of that introduction was Polynesia.

Unfortunately I don't know the original source for that, but it seems chickens were at least somewhat common.


#70    Harte

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:02 AM

It seems that the original authors backtrack as well.  From here:

Quote

Here, we provide the first unequivocal evidence for a pre-European introduction of chickens to South America and indicate, through ancient DNA evidence, that the likely source of that introduction was Polynesia.
(My emphasis)

to here:

Quote

Ultimately, the question rests on the antiquity of the El Arenal chickens. We have directly dated and sequenced two additional chicken bones from the site, which is not a shell midden as claimed (1). Stable isotope determinations (δ 13C, δ 15N, and δ 34S) further confirm a terrestrial dietary signature; thus, no marine calibration of the dates is required (Table 1). All dates obtained from the site are securely pre-Columbian (even at 2σ), consistent with the stratigraphic and artifactual evidence. Therefore, the most parsimonious explanation continues to be that chickens were first introduced to South America by Polynesian voyagers as part of a well-documented eastward expansion.
Again, my emphasis.

Regarding the diet, the authors of the refuting paper rely on a paper by Contreras - "Ceramics, mails and ranasâ | The Orchard camp on the coast of Arauco" - that describes the area, though not the precise site, where the bones were found.

I thought they had "unequivocal evidence."

At any rate, good find.  The findings then appear to still be in dispute.

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#71    Everdred

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:00 AM

Harte, I think you're giving Gongora et al. a bit too much credit in saying the "findings then appear to still be in dispute."

I suppose that is true on a basic level, but Gongora et al. are showing a common pattern of ignorance displayed by geneticists who attempt to branch out into archaeological discussions, namely in completely disregarding contextual dating, which in this case included both artifactual assemblages and thermoluminescence dating of pottery.  This is seen in their reply to Storey et al.'s reply:

http://www.pnas.org/...05/48/E100.full

Clearly they lack a basic grasp of archaeological methodology.

But Storey et al. were also more kind to Gongora et al. than was warranted, and continued to gather more data re: isotopic analysis to confirm their original findings that the El-Arenal chickens needed no correction for marine dietary sources.  This was published as a chapter in a book concerning the topic of Pre-Columbian contact:

http://books.google....=PA139&pg=PA162

I've linked to the part of the chapter that specifically deals with Gongora et al., which unfortunately isn't fully displayed thanks to the restrictions of Google Book previews.  The chapter also gives more detailed discussion of the site and stratigraphical context of the finds, demonstrating clearly the security of the dating even without carbon dating.  The chapter, except for the specific response to Gongora et al. was reorganized and published as a journal article, available in full online:

http://www.academia....r_their_origins

In the discussion of the archaeological excavation, the stratigraphy is detailed, with three layers yielding evidence of human habitation.  All of the artifactual evidence from these three layers comes from pre-Columbian cultural complexes, and there are no artifacts associated with European contact, making it clear that the site was abandoned prior to European contact.  In addition it should be noted that the chicken remains were recovered from Layer B of Level III, which is the second layer bearing evidence of human occupation (the first being Layer A sitting directly above it).  So it is clear that the chicken remains are older than the most recent pre-Columbian inhabitance of the site.

The rest of the article concerns chicken DNA and morphology in an attempt to trace the origins of the pre-Columbian chicken remains.  To paraphrase, the basic conclusion was that the heavy trade of chickens and widespread practice of cross-breeding in the past two centuries means that modern DNA studies as undertaken by Gongora et al. are completely worthless as tools to trace the ancient spread of chickens, and thus typing must concentrate on ancient remains.  This bolsters the idea that the El Arenal chickens were of Polynesian origin, though unfortunately does nothing to prove it with certainty given the wide geographic spread of chicken haplotype E1 evident even in older remains.



And leaving chickens behind for a moment (yay!), the above article mentioned another line of potential evidence for pre-Columbian Polynesian contact:

http://www.academia....ON_MOCHA_ISLAND

This article deals with human remains found on Mocha Island in southern Chile which appear to show morphological affinities with Polynesians.  Several skulls were studied, with one in particular showing strong cranial affinity.  This particular specimen had an artifactual assemblage characteristic of the El Vergel culture, dating 1000-1500 AD, the same cultural complex in which the above chicken remains were found (and the El Arenal site is around 100km to the north).

Definitely another interesting find, though the cranial affinity could be coincidental.  Hopefully they'll be able to open new excavations on the island to find more evidence of any contact.


#72    Harte

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

View PostEverdred, on 20 January 2013 - 02:00 AM, said:

Harte, I think you're giving Gongora et al. a bit too much credit in saying the "findings then appear to still be in dispute."
Only because I was under the impression that the original findings had been refuted. Hence, the beat goes on...

View PostEverdred, on 20 January 2013 - 02:00 AM, said:

This article deals with human remains found on Mocha Island in southern Chile which appear to show morphological affinities with Polynesians.  Several skulls were studied, with one in particular showing strong cranial affinity.  This particular specimen had an artifactual assemblage characteristic of the El Vergel culture, dating 1000-1500 AD, the same cultural complex in which the above chicken remains were found (and the El Arenal site is around 100km to the north).
Morphology isn't exactly in line with archaeological analysis of recent humans either.
Distasteful or not (LOL,) genetics is the way to go here, as long as there's recoverable DNA.

However, the stratigraphic evidence, and the rest, makes a powerful argument, I will agree.

Just not "unequivocal."

Personally, I find the theory to be perfectly sound.  I just like to see both sides of an issue posted.

View PostEverdred, on 20 January 2013 - 02:00 AM, said:

Definitely another interesting find, though the cranial affinity could be coincidental.  Hopefully they'll be able to open new excavations on the island to find more evidence of any contact.
More evidence will be found, if the theory is correct.  Likely including genetic evidence from living people.  If not from living chickens.

If you're tired of the chicken, I recommend some sweet potato.

Harte

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#73    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

View PostEverdred, on 19 January 2013 - 12:14 AM, said:


And in response to PersonFromPorlock, let me quote the first article:
***
Unfortunately I don't know the original source for that, but it seems chickens were at least somewhat common.

My problem with that is that 'somewhat' common isn't what I'd expect if chickens had been in the Americas for even a few hundred years. I'd expect them to have spread throughout the settled Amerind cultures of the Southwest and right up the Mississippi Valley and beyond. How long did it take the horse to become an integral part of Plains Indian culture?

So I just don't know.


#74    Harte

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:08 AM

View PostPersonFromPorlock, on 20 January 2013 - 10:44 PM, said:

My problem with that is that 'somewhat' common isn't what I'd expect if chickens had been in the Americas for even a few hundred years. I'd expect them to have spread throughout the settled Amerind cultures of the Southwest and right up the Mississippi Valley and beyond. How long did it take the horse to become an integral part of Plains Indian culture?

So I just don't know.

You'd expect them to be wild in the forests after that long.

One date given in the second PNAS paper was only seventy years before Columbus. That's a fairly fine line to draw using any type of dating method, IMO.  Not casting aspersions, though.  I mean, I'm here and the archaeologists are (or were) there.

All I'm suggesting is, wouldn't be a hoot if the Polynesians just left the weekend before and the very next Friday the darn Spaniards show up?

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#75    lightly

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:02 PM

View PostHarte, on 21 January 2013 - 02:08 AM, said:

You'd expect them to be wild in the forests after that long.

One date given in the second PNAS paper was only seventy years before Columbus. That's a fairly fine line to draw using any type of dating method, IMO.  Not casting aspersions, though.  I mean, I'm here and the archaeologists are (or were) there.

All I'm suggesting is, wouldn't be a hoot if the Polynesians just left the weekend before and the very next Friday the darn Spaniards show up?

Harte

   just a thought...   chickens were a part of nearly every homesite around here for a a very long time  but i've never seen a chicken in "the forest"   I'm sure it happens,  but, being domesticated they probably have lost some survival skills?

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.




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