The theory that the settlement of America occurred at various points is reinforced, because according to a new study , some Polynesians carry DNA from ancient Native Americans .
Specifically, this new genetic study suggests that Polynesians made an epic journey to South America 800 years ago .
Travel and marriages
About 3,000 years ago, the inhabitants of the eastern tip of Asia began to sail east, crossing thousands of kilometers of ocean to reach uninhabited islands. Their descendants, some 2,000 years later , invented the double-hulled canoe to travel further east, reaching places like Hawaii and Rapa Nui.
These canoes could also have reached South America, according to the aforementioned study. And what is more surprising: then they returned home, taking the local people with them .
That would explain why the inhabitants of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, and four other Polynesian islands, carry small amounts of DNA inherited from people who lived in Colombia about 800 years ago, 300 before the Spanish .
The researchers found that all of the Zenu-like DNA stretches in the Polynesians were roughly the same size. They estimated that they came from Zenu relatives who lived about eight centuries ago.
Previous genetic studies had also hinted that the people on Rapa Nui had some ancient South American ancestors. But the new study offers a more compelling case because the researchers analyzed more than 800 people using a series of new, more sophisticated statistical tools .
Specifically, they collected saliva samples from 807 participants on 17 Polynesian islands and 15 Native American groups along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Chile, performing genetic analysis to search for DNA fragments that are characteristic of each population and segments that are "identical by descent," meaning they are inherited from the same ancestor many generations ago.