The Residents of Vanuatu, Then and Now

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1229-SCI-OBSE-2-master675Analysis of skulls in the oldest known cemetery in the South Pacific suggests that the earliest inhabitants of Vanuatu may have descended from Asian and Polynesian populations, while modern residents share more physical similarities with people in Melanesia.

The cemetery, on Vanuatu’s Efate Island, is 3,000 years old, and the skeletons of the earliest settlers, the Lapita, were discovered there in 2004. Australian researchers compared the Lapita skulls to those of living adults in Vanuatu and other parts of Polynesia and Melanesia, and concluded that the cranial structure was closer to that of present-day Polynesians and Asians. Read more.


SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

ISLAND LIFE MAGAZINE

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