origin of the species...;)

( sarimanok, at Nosy-be via die madagassen)

From a study conducted in the Sanger Insitute, UK, the verdict is out: Half of Malagasy people genetic lineages comes from the island of Borneo and the other half from East Africa.

You might say: "Lova, how exactly is that newsworthy ? It seemes like the perfect "Secret de polichinelle", everyone knew that already ! Thanks for nothing ! "
Hold on, there is more a bit more. The study, after carefully peforming some complex genotypic analyses that I won't bore you with, tells us that:
1) "The striking mix suggests that there was substantial migration of people from southeast Asia about 2000-1500 years ago [..]However, unlike the privations suffered by those eastward travellers, the data suggests the early Malagasy population survived the voyage well, because more genetic variation is found in them than is found in the islands of Polynesia. 'Bottlenecks' in evolutionary history, where the population is dramatically reduced in number, are a common cause of reduced genetic variation.

2) "The population structure in Madagascar is a fascinating snapshot of human history and a testament to the remarkable abilities of early populations to undertake migrations across vast reaches of ocean. It may also be important today for cutting edge medical science.[...] Our human history is a rich mix of peoples and their movement, of success and failure. Madagascar holds an enriching tale of the ability of humans to survive and to reach new lands. " [end of quote]

Interesting, no ? ( the study was published a year ago.) Beside the similar phenotypes and languages, we now have genetic evidences of our pasts in the great region of Borneo. (I feel like I am one step away from crying on Oprah' show about my newfound roots ;). / Oprah Winfrey had the same analysis done on her DNA to trace her roots to Nigeria).
Here are my 4 ( not so serious ) thougths on the matter:
1) One myth down, one ! Madagascar was more hospitable than the paradise islands of the Pacific ocean (Tahiti, Vanuatu etc...) back then. It's now time to claim our title of "traveler's favorite destination" back :) ! C'mon, Department of Tourism, make it happen ;)
2) [quote] "(Malagasy people) are a fascinating snapshot of human history [..] and are critical for the advancement of the science of human population gene mapping." [quote]
Well, Science, you are welcome ! ;) Now, if you could return the favor and helps us get rid of Malaria, we would greatly appreciate :).
3) So around year 06 A.D, our ancestors decided to get on their sailing boats and travel 4500 miles away...it has got to be one of the most fascinating achievement in the history of sailing. I can say objectively that I cannot think of any group of population that traveled that far by sea that early. As I was doing a search on this amazing journey, I stumble upon this magnificient post by sipakv regarding this story and the whole Sarimanok boat: she did all the necessary research with maps and appropriate links. If like me, you are a bit ignorant of the story behind the crossing of the ocean by sailing boats, it is a must read.
4) With a seamless transition, the music selection of the day: "origin of the species" by U2 ( If you believe I have been thinking for awhile on how to plug in U2 in this post, you are probably right )

PS: Cheers to Ramya and David , currently in the "motherland", who inspired this post. See David, we ARE unique ! ;) and the malagasy whistle is up in the sidebar (via harinjaka). ;)


  1. En voila un post bien mijoter, pour conclure avec un U2 :) je suis entièrement d'accord avec ta démonstration et tes revendications :)

    En te lisant, je me souvient d'une citation de Didier Ratsiraka(oui oui)prononcé lors de son discours d'inverstiture en 1998 qui disait (a peu près)

    "...Et c'est là que je suggère au Ministère du tourisme et de l'environnement, au Ministère de la recherche scientifique, d'essayer de faire de la médiatisation, et de faire en sorte que, par exemple, cet endroit unique au monde (qui est madagascar), soit reconu par la communauté internationale comme mémoire et patrimoine commun de l'humanité, d'abord protégé et ensuite vulgarisé et médiatisé, pour que les touristes affluent de tous les quatre coins du monde pour venir chez nous ..."

    OT a un moment sur le web il y avait tout ses discours en ligne et comme il n'y avait pas encore de blog à l'époque je retsatait des heures à les lires ... c'était théatrale :)

  2. >harinjaka:
    Je viens de finir de lire ton post sur l'homme de Flores et effectivement, il ressemble etrangement a la description des vazimbas. Fascinant: il est vrai qu'avant la fracture du Gwondana (?) nous etions voisins apres tout. Pour corrobhorer ta theorie, voici une definition de "negrito" sur les cousins des vazimbas en Asie:
    (negrito dans ce contexte est sense n'avoir aucun sens pejoratif)
    Sacre Didier, ;) tu crois que ces discours sont encore disponibles quelque part ?

  3. les discours ne sont plus dispo malheureusement, c'est pour ça que j'ai dis l'autre jours que ça manque un peu d'internet mais bon ... je laisse quand même l'adresse de son ancien "blog" www.ratsiraka2001.mg ;)

  4. Anonymous2:35 PM

    A propos de la traversee, quelques informations d'interets sur ce site. par exemple:
    On a longtemps cru -à tort- qu’ils étaient venus à bord de pirogues à balanciers. Sur la foi des anciennes descriptions chinoises, on peut savoir que les bateaux de commerce malais pouvaient à l’époque mesurer 60 m de long et comporter jusqu’à 7 voiles.

  5. Hey bro'
    thx for the U2...
    it's in the air these days...
    Hope you're ok...
    bizzz jog

  6. hey there sis,
    So glad to hear from you and that you did not get caught in the crossfire...scary stuff
    Have a great-week-end,

  7. Anonymous11:16 PM

    i have come across your article as i am making a presentation on Mcar tomorrow. lucky me...i am from Mcar too, and i am studying at Ball State University. do u really live in Indiana? might be fun :)

  8. Hello there fellow Malagasy and Hoosiers ! Glad to know there is a compadre in the State. Drop me a mail at lrakoto@hotmail.com and next time we can meet halfway in Indianapolis and have a drink or sthg. Cheers,