The genetic history of Australia, Oceania, and Southeast Asia 2

Published on April 21, 2015   34 min

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Other Talks in the Series: Human Population Genetics II

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We turn now to discussion of genetics and the impact of the Austronesian expansion.
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One important point to keep in mind is that Austronesian refers specifically to a language family, and the Austronesian expansion is an expansion of languages. You will undoubtedly hear about or read about Austronesian archaeology, Austronesian fossils. I will probably mention Austronesian genes. But anytime we make that sort of inference, it is really an inference; it is not a direct examination of the evidence. So we're somehow trying to make a correspondence between these other types of data and the languages. But the fossils don't speak, the archaeology doesn't speak, and the genes don't speak, so it's all by way of inference that we try to relate other types of evidence to what is going on with the languages. So that is an important point to keep in mind. And again, as this slide illustrates, the reason why we're interested in this expansion is because it has such a large and profound impact on the languages of this part of the world. We find Austronesian languages in Taiwan. We find them throughout the Philippines, throughout Indonesia, along coastal New Guinea, through the main chain of the Solomon Islands, other offshore islands of New Guinea, and then all of the languages of Remote Oceania, the old areas referred to as Micronesia and Polynesia, those are all Austronesian languages, so this is the most widespread language family in the world, and it has had a major impact on this part of the world. Using classical methods of historical linguistic reconstruction, linguists have traced the origin of the Austronesian language family to Taiwan as the probable location.
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The genetic history of Australia, Oceania, and Southeast Asia 2

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