The origin of the Polynesian islanders and of the Austronesian languages that they speak has been debated for more than 200 years. Diamond has presented the predominantly held modern viewpoint, described as the 'express train to Polynesia' model, which proposes that the ancestors of the Polynesians were early farmers who dispersed south from a homeland in South China/Taiwan, through Island Southeast Asia (replacing an indigenous 'Australoid' hunter-gatherer population), and then on east, out into the Pacific — all within the past 6,000 years1. However, evidence is accumulating from several genetic markers that Polynesian lineages have a much deeper ancestry within tropical Island Southeast Asia than this hypothesis would suggest. The new evidence implies that the Polynesians originated not in China/Taiwan, but in eastern Indonesia, somewhere between Wallace's line and the island of New Guinea.
Access optionsAccess options
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Diamond, J. M. Nature 403, 709–710 (2000).
Melton, T. et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 57, 403–414 (1995).
Redd, A. J. et al. Mol. Biol. Evol. 12, 604–615 (1995).
Richards, M., Oppenheimer, S. J. & Sykes, B. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 63, 1234–1236 (1998).
Bellwood, P. in Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago 2nd edn, 119 (University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, 1997).
Su, B. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 97, 8225–8228 (2000).
Serjeantson, S. W. & Hill, A. V. S. in The Colonization of the Pacific: A Genetic Trail (eds Hill, A. V. S. & Serjeantson, S. W.) 286 (Clarendon, Oxford, 1989).
Baer, A. S. Asian Perspectives 34, 21–35 (1995).
Hanihara, T. Anthropol. Sci. 101, 25–46 (1993).
Meacham, W. Asian Perspectives 26, 89–106 (1984).
Solheim, W. G. II in The History of Humanity Vol. 1 (ed. De Laet, S. J.) 468–481 (Routledge, London, 1994).
Terrell, J. E. & Welsch, R. L. Antiquity 71, 548–572 (1997).
Blust, R. Symp. Ser. Inst. Linguist. Acad. Sinica 1, 31–94 (1999).
About this article
The pattern of HLA-A, -B and -DRB1 alleles and haplotypes of four Malay sub-ethnic groups namely Kelantan, Champa, Patani and Mandailing Malays of Peninsular Malaysia
Human Immunology (2019)
Biometric Differentiation of Wild Philippine Pigs from Introduced Sus scrofa in Modern and Archaeological Assemblages
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2017)
Phylogeography of Y-chromosome haplogroup O3a2b2-N6 reveals patrilineal traces of Austronesian populations on the eastern coastal regions of Asia
PLOS ONE (2017)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015)
Population Genetic Structure and Isolation by Distance of Helicobacter pylori in Senegal and Madagascar
PLoS ONE (2014)