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). ;)