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Nature volume 119, pages 332334 (26 February 1927) | Download Citation


MALAYO–POLYNESIANS IN AMERICA.—Dr. Paul Rivet again attacks the question of the migrations of Malayo–Polynesians to America in vol. 18,No. 5, of the Journal de la Société des Américanistes de Paris. He briefly reviews the evidence of physical anthropology and ethnography with which he has dealt previously. The form of certain types of skull in lower California shows a Melanesian affinity, while the Lagoa-Santa skull is of a type of wide distribution in South America and presents affinities with the hypsistenocephalic type of Melanesia and Australia. In the material culture a large number of objects of typical Polynesian or Melanesian character, of which a detailed list is given, are also found in America. The linguistic evidence—a detailed examination of grammatical structure and comparison of vocabularies—shows a close affinity between the Hoka family which extends, though not continuously, from Oregon to Salvador, and the Malayo–Polynesian family. If we accept LUhles classification and dating of pre-Inca pottery in Peru, and put the first wave of immigration as contemporary with the proto-Nasca ware, this would give a date at about the beginning of our era, but Uhle's dates are too low and allow an inadequate period for the evolution of the stone age in America. These immigrants met and were to a great extent overwhelmed by the migrations of peoples from Asia who were responsible in the main for the general physical character of the American Indian; but it would be a mistake to regard the part played by the Malayo-Polynesian element in the racial makeup of America as negligible.

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