26 Apr 2018

Genetic history gives rise to theory on Vanuatu's settlement

From , 5:03 am on 26 April 2018

Contrasts between Vanuatu's Melanesian people and their Polynesian languages have given rise to a new theory on Pacific settlement.

A paleo-geneticist at the Max Planck institute in Austria says Vanuatu was first settled by the Austronesian Lapita people around 3000 years ago.

But he says about 500 years later Papuan people started arriving from the Bismarck Archipelago.

And as Dr Cosimo Posth tells Dominic Godfrey, Vanuatu's genetic history shows a gradual admixture of the two peoples which eventually supplanted the original population but not their language or culture.

Children are lining the route from the Vanuatu parliament to the airport as the funeral procession takes the President Baldwin Lonsdale back to his home.

Ni-Vanuatu schoolchildren hold vigil at the funeral procession for Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale in 2017 Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post