Friday, February 6, 2009

Tracking human migration via pigs

Pigs -- the perfect traveling companion

The island chains in the pacific ocean are pretty interesting when you think about pigs. They're found on every major island, and are relatively new additions to the islands in most cases. The islands are too far for the pigs to swim between (think about how far Hawaii is from anywhere else) and once a particular strain of pig gets established on an island there's not much movement from there.

So if we assume that pigs were transported, they're actually a really good marker for when an island is colonized, and better as a way to track the progress of a particular migration. By changes in the DNA of the pig, you can follow a migration path. So the current thinking is that most of the pacific island chains were populated by people who came from modern-day Taiwan.

Source article can be found here.

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