Ancient Polynesians sampled fancy menus 3,000 years ago
Washington: Researchers studying 3000-year-old skeletons from the oldest known cemetery in the Pacific Islands have cast new light on the diet and lives of the enigmatic Lapita people - likely ancestors of Polynesians.
Their results-obtained from analysing stable isotope ratios of three elements in the bone collagen of 49 adults buried at the Teouma archaeological site on Vanuatu`s Efate Island-suggest that its early Lapita settlers ate reef fish, marine turtles, fruit bats, free-range pigs and chickens, rather than primarily relying on growing crops for human food and animal fodder.
Study lead author Dr Rebecca Kinaston and colleague Associate Professor Hallie Buckley at the Department of Anatomy carried out the research in collaboration with the Vanuatu National Museum and researchers from the University of Marseilles and CNRS (UMR 7269 and UMR 7041) in France and The Australian National University, Canberra.
The researchers analysed the isotopic ratios of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur in adult human bone collagen and compared these with ratios in ancient and modern plants and animals from the location, which provided a comprehensive dietary baseline.
Dr Kinason said that examining these ratios gave them direct evidence of the broad make-up of these adults` diets over the 10-20 years before they died, which helps clear up the long-running debate about how the Lapita settlers sustained themselves during the early phases of colonising each island during their eastward drive across the Pacific.
She said that the dietary pattern they found suggested that in addition to eating pigs and chickens, settlers were also foraging for a variety of marine food and consuming wild animals - especially fruit bats - and that whatever horticultural food they produced was not heavily relied on.
The findings have been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Panel discussion over vote bank politics on Hinduism
- DNA: Terrorists' new strategy of snatching weapons from Indian security personnel
- Watch: Report on delayed development in Ayodhya
- DNA: Ground reporting of the deteriorating sanctity of Ayodhya
- Pak High Commission staffer grilled for spying, released later
- Pakistan's brutality exposed; `Black Day` protesters thrashed in PoK - Video goes viral
- Pakistan High Commission staffer, briefly detained for espionage, asked to leave India in 48 hours
- National Geographic's famed ''Afghan Girl'' arrested in Pakistan for forgery
- Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam's 'Kaabil' trailer shocks Rakesh Roshan
- India vs New Zealand, 4th ODI: As it happened...