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The Indo-Pacific origins of the Polynesians are linked to Southeast Asia through the Austronesian expansion and particularly to the Lapita culture that first appears in the Pacific ≈3300 years before present (B. Lapita colonists moved rapidly through eastern Melanesia to Samoa and Tonga by ≈2900 B. Linguistic and archaeological evidence suggest that the bottle gourd (), also from the Americas, was present in Eastern Polynesia before AD 1200 (14, 15).

Voyaging from Polynesia to the Americas has been proposed (16), and debated (17) recently in relation to linguistic and archaeological evidence for the occurrence of some watercraft, namely sewn plank canoes, and fishhook forms found in southern California which resemble Polynesian types.

All ancient West Polynesian samples, early samples from Anakena, Easter Island and Kualoa, Hawai'i, and the El Arenal sample share a single unique point mutation (a T to C transition) at site 214.

One of the modern Araucana feather samples also shares this unique mutation.

These were compared with ancient mt DNA obtained from chicken bones from archaeological sites in Polynesia and with modern Araucana chicken materials.

The radiocarbon date obtained for the El Arenal chicken bone was 622 ± 35 B.

The direct dating of chicken bones from the El Arenal-1 site in Chile falls within the expected range of dates, 600–800 B.Sewn plank canoes have also been documented in Chile by ethnographers (18) and claims have been made suggesting artifactual and linguistic evidence for Polynesian influence in the Mapuche region of south central Chile (3).Computer simulations suggest that voyaging eastward from Polynesia in the southern hemisphere where the mid-latitude westerlies are more accessible, is a more likely prospect than a northern route to the Americas (19).Three other SNPs (all transitions) at sites 278, 303, and 339 are shared by these West Polynesian, early Anakena and Hawai'i, and the Chilean bone samples and sequences reported from modern chickens in Southeast Asia, specifically samples from the Yunnan region of China and Vietnam (see Table 1 for Gen Bank accession numbers).Interestingly, samples from archaeological layers dating to later periods at Anakena and from another later prehistoric period Easter Island site, Hanga Hahave, did not share these three SNPs.

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