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Melanesians
Melanesians
are the dominant inhabitants of Melanesia. Most speak one of the many Papuan languages, though a few groups such as Moluccans, the Motu and Fijians
Fijians
speak Austronesian languages. Melanesians
Melanesians
occupy islands from Eastern Indonesia
Indonesia
to as far east as the islands of Vanuatu
Vanuatu
and Fiji.[3]

Contents

1 History 2 Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
and cultural traits 3 Theories of Polynesian migration through Melanesia 4 Incidence of blond hair in Melanesia 5 Melanesian
Melanesian
areas of Oceania 6 See also 7 References

History[edit] Early European explorers noted the physical differences among groups of Pacific Islanders. In 1756 Charles de Brosses
Charles de Brosses
theorized that there was an 'old black race' in the Pacific who were conquered or defeated by the peoples of what is now called Polynesia, whom he distinguished as having lighter skin.[4]:189–190 By 1825 Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent developed a more elaborate, 15-race model of human diversity.[5] He described the inhabitants of modern-day Melanesia
Melanesia
as Mélaniens, a distinct racial group from the Australian and Neptunian (i.e. Polynesian) races surrounding them.[4]:178 In 1832 Dumont D'Urville
Dumont D'Urville
expanded and simplified much of this earlier work. He classified the peoples of Oceania
Oceania
into four racial groups: Malayans, Polynesians, Micronesians, and Melanesians.[6]:165 D'Urville's model differed from that of Bory de Saint-Vincent in referring to 'Melanesians' rather than 'Mélaniens.' Bory de Saint-Vincent had distinguished Mélaniens from the indigenous Australians. Dumont D'Urville
Dumont D'Urville
combined the two peoples into one group. Based on his research, Jonathan Friedlaender states, "The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago, when Neanderthals still roamed Europe."[7] The original inhabitants of the group of islands now named Melanesia
Melanesia
were likely the ancestors of the present-day Papuan-speaking people. Migrating from Southeast Asia, they appear to have occupied these islands as far east as the main islands in the Solomon Islands, including Makira
Makira
and possibly the smaller islands farther to the east.[8] Particularly along the north coast of New Guinea
New Guinea
and in the islands north and east of New Guinea, the Austronesian people, who had migrated into the area somewhat more than 3,000 years ago,[7] came into contact with these pre-existing populations of Papuan-speaking peoples. In the late 20th century, some scholars theorized a long period of interaction, which resulted in many complex changes in genetics, languages, and culture among the peoples.[9] Kayser, et al. proposed that, from this area, a very small group of people (speaking an Austronesian language) departed to the east to become the forebears of the Polynesian people.[10]

A Fijian mountain warrior, photograph by Francis Herbert Dufty, 1870s.

This Polynesian theory is contradicted by the findings of a genetic study published by Temple University
Temple University
in 2008. The study was based on genome scans and evaluation of more than 800 genetic markers among a wide variety of Pacific peoples. It found that neither Polynesians
Polynesians
nor Micronesians have much genetic relation to Melanesians. Both groups are strongly related genetically to East Asians, particularly Taiwanese aborigines.[7] It appeared that, having developed their sailing outrigger canoes, the ancestors of the Polynesians
Polynesians
migrated from East Asia, moved through the Melanesian
Melanesian
area quickly on their way, and kept going to eastern areas, where they settled. They left little genetic evidence in Melanesia.[7] The study found a high rate of genetic differentiation and diversity among the groups living within the Melanesian
Melanesian
islands, with the peoples distinguished by island, language, topography, and geography among the islands. Such diversity developed over their tens of thousands of years of settlement before the Polynesian ancestors ever arrived at the islands. For instance, populations developed differently along the coasts than in more isolated valleys.[7][11] Further DNA analysis has taken research into new directions, as more human species have been discovered since the late 20th century. Based on his genetic studies of the Denisova hominin, an ancient human species discovered in 2010, Svante Pääbo
Svante Pääbo
claims that ancient human ancestors of the Melanesians
Melanesians
interbred in Asia with these humans. He has found that people of New Guinea
New Guinea
share 4%–6% of their genome with the Denisovans, indicating this exchange.[12] The Denisovans are considered cousin to the Neanderthals. Both groups are now understood to have migrated out of Africa, with the Neanderthals
Neanderthals
going into Europe, and the Denisovans heading east about 400,000 years ago. This is based on genetic evidence from a fossil found in Siberia. The evidence from Melanesia
Melanesia
suggests their territory extended into south Asia, where ancestors of the Melanesians
Melanesians
developed.[12] Melanesians
Melanesians
of some islands are one of the few non-European peoples, and the only dark-skinned group of people outside Australia, known to have blond hair. The blonde trait developed via the TYRP1
TYRP1
gene, and is not found in European blonds.[13] A 2011 survey found that 92.1% of Melanesians
Melanesians
are Christians.[14] Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
and cultural traits[edit] Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
and cultural traits were introduced along the north and south-east coasts of New Guinea
New Guinea
and in some of the islands north and east of New Guinea
New Guinea
by migrating Austronesians, probably starting over 9,000 years ago.[citation needed] This was followed by long periods of interaction that resulted in many complex changes in genetics, languages, and culture.[15] It was once postulated that from this area a very small group of people (speaking an Austronesian language) departed to the east and became the forebears of the Polynesian people.[16] This theory was, however, contradicted by a study published by Temple University finding that Polynesians
Polynesians
and Micronesians have little genetic relation to Melanesians; instead, they found significant distinctions between groups living within the Melanesian
Melanesian
islands.[17] Genome scans show Polynesians
Polynesians
have little genetic relationship to Melanesians.[11] A genetic link has been identified as Polynesians
Polynesians
are dominated by a type of macro-haplogroup C y-DNA, which is a minority lineage in Melanesia
Melanesia
and have a very low frequency of the dominant Melanesian y-DNA which is K2b1, which complicates matters.[18] Some recent studies suggest that all humans outside of Africa have inherited some genes from Neanderthals, and that Melanesians
Melanesians
are the only known modern humans whose prehistoric ancestors interbred with the Denisova hominin, sharing 4%–6% of their genome with this ancient cousin of the Neanderthal.[12] Theories of Polynesian migration through Melanesia[edit]

Lamaholot people
Lamaholot people
from Flores
Flores
island, Indonesia. Many of the present Southern Mongoloid
Southern Mongoloid
populations of Indonesia
Indonesia
and Malaysia
Malaysia
(including Singapore) also have a high degree of Australoid- Melanesian
Melanesian
genetic heritage.[19]

The most widely accepted theory is that modern Austronesians originated from migrations out of Taiwan between 3000 and 1000 BC. Soares et al. (2008) have argued for an older pre- Holocene
Holocene
Sundaland origin in Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) based on mitochondrial DNA.[20] The "out of Taiwan model" was challenged by a study from Leeds University and published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Examination of mitochondrial DNA lineages shows that they have been evolving in ISEA for longer than previously believed. Ancestors of the Polynesians
Polynesians
arrived in the Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago
of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
at least 6,000 to 8,000 years ago.[21] Paternal Y chromosome
Y chromosome
analysis by Kayser et al. (2000) also showed that Polynesians
Polynesians
have significant Melanesian
Melanesian
genetic admixture.[18] A follow-up study by Kayser et al. (2008) discovered that only 21% of the Polynesian autosomal gene pool is of Melanesian
Melanesian
origin, with the rest (79%) being of East Asian origin.[22] A study by Friedlaender et al. (2008) confirmed that Polynesians
Polynesians
are closer genetically to Micronesians, Taiwanese Aborigines, and East Asians, than to Melanesians. The study concluded that Polynesians
Polynesians
moved through Melanesia
Melanesia
fairly rapidly, allowing only limited admixture between Austronesians and Melanesians.[23] Thus, the high frequencies of B4a1a1 are the result of drift and represent the descendants of a very few successful East Asian females.[24] Incidence of blond hair in Melanesia[edit] Blond
Blond
hair is rare in native populations outside of Europe. It evolved independently in Melanesia,[25] where Melanesians
Melanesians
of some islands (along with some Australian aborigines) are one of a few groups of non-Caucasian people who have blonde hair. This has been traced to an allele of TYRP1
TYRP1
unique to these people, and is not the same gene that causes blond hair in Caucasians. As with blonde hair that arose in Europe, incidence of blondness is more common in children than in adults, with hair tending to darken as the individual matures.

A Melanesian
Melanesian
child from Vanuatu.

School children from the Solomon Islands.

Blond
Blond
girl from Vanuatu.

Melanesian
Melanesian
areas of Oceania[edit] The predominantly Melanesian
Melanesian
areas of Oceania
Oceania
include parts of the Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
(Moluccas) of Eastern Indonesia, New Guinea
New Guinea
and surrounding islands, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu
Vanuatu
and Fiji. New Caledonia and nearby Loyalty Islands
Loyalty Islands
for most of their history have had a majority Melanesian
Melanesian
population, but the proportion has dropped to 43% in the face of modern immigration.[26] The largest and most populous Melanesian
Melanesian
country is Papua New Guinea. The largest city in Melanesia
Melanesia
is Port Moresby
Port Moresby
in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
with about 318,000 people, mostly of Melanesian
Melanesian
ancestry.[27] In Australia
Australia
the total population of Torres Strait Islanders, a Melanesian
Melanesian
people, was estimated at 30 June 2011 to be 63,700.[28] See also[edit]

Indonesia
Indonesia
portal Oceania
Oceania
portal

Aeta Micronesians Negritos Ni-Vanuatu Oceania Papuan people Polynesians Sundaland

References[edit]

^ "Neo- Melanesian
Melanesian
Papuan". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-10-25.  ^ " Vanuatu
Vanuatu
Melanesian". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2014-10-25.  ^ Dunn, Michael, Angela Terrill, Ger Reesink, Robert A. Foley, Stephen C. Levinson (2005). "Structural Phylogenetics and the Reconstruction of Ancient Language History". Science. 309 (5743): 2072–2075. doi:10.1126/science.1114615. PMID 16179483. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b Tcherkézoff, Serge (2003). "A Long and Unfortunate Voyage Toward the 'Invention' of the Melanesia/ Polynesia
Polynesia
Distinction 1595–1832". Journal of Pacific History. 38 (2): 175–196. doi:10.1080/0022334032000120521.  ^ "MAPS AND NOTES to illustrate the history of the European "invention" of the Melanesia
Melanesia
/ Polynesia
Polynesia
distinction". Retrieved 7 March 2013.  ^ Durmont D'Urville, Jules-Sébastian-César (2003). "On The Islands of the Great Ocean". Journal of Pacific History. 38 (2): 163–174. doi:10.1080/0022334032000120512.  ^ a b c d e "Genome Scans Show Polynesians
Polynesians
Have Little Genetic Relationship to Melanesians", Press Release, Temple University, 17 January 2008, accessed 19 July 2015 ^ Dunn, Michael, Angela Terrill, Ger Reesink, Robert A. Foley, Stephen C. Levinson (2005). "Structural Phylogenetics and the Reconstruction of Ancient Language History". Science. 309 (5743): 2072–2075. doi:10.1126/science.1114615. PMID 16179483. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Spriggs, Matthew (1997). The Island Melanesians. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-16727-7.  ^ Kayser, Manfred, Silke Brauer, Gunter Weiss, Peter A. Underhill, Lutz Rower, Wulf Schiefenhövel and Mark Stoneking (2000). "The Melanesian
Melanesian
Origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes". Current Biology. 10 (20): 1237–1246. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(00)00734-X. PMID 11069104. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b Friedlaender J, Friedlaender FR, Reed FA, Kidd KK, Kidd JR (2008-01-18). "The Genetic Structure of Pacific Islanders". PLoS Genetics. 4 (3): e19. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0040019. PMC 2211537 . PMID 18208337.  ^ a b c Carl Zimmer
Carl Zimmer
(22 December 2010). "Denisovans Were Neanderthals' Cousins, DNA Analysis Reveals". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 22 December 2010.  ^ Kenny, Eimear E.; Timpson, Nicholas J. (4 May 2012). "Melanesian Blond
Blond
Hair Is Caused by an Amino Acid Change in TYRP1". Science. 336: 554. doi:10.1126/science.1217849. PMC 3481182 . PMID 22556244.  ^ Christianity
Christianity
in its Global Context, 1970–2020 Society, Religion, and Mission, Center for the Study of Global Christianity ^ Spriggs, Matthew (1997). The Island Melanesians. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-16727-7.  ^ Kayser, Manfred, Silke Brauer, Gunter Weiss, Peter A. Underhill, Lutz Rower, Wulf Schiefenhövel and Mark Stoneking (2000). "The Melanesian
Melanesian
Origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes". Current Biology. 10 (20): 1237–1246. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(00)00734-X. PMID 11069104. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Friedlaender, Jonathan (2008-01-17). "Genome scan shows Polynesians have little genetic relationship to Melanesians" (Press release). Temple University.  ^ a b Kayser, M.; Brauer, S.; Weiss, G.; Underhill, P.A.; Roewer, L.; Schiefenhövel, W.; Stoneking, M. (2000). " Melanesian
Melanesian
origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes". Current Biology. 10 (20): 1237–1246. doi:10.1016/s0960-9822(00)00734-x. PMID 11069104.  See also correction in: Current Biology, vol. 11, no. 2, pages 141–142 (23 Jan. 2001). ^ Bellwood, Peter (1985). Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago. Australian National University. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-921313-11-0.  ^ Martin Richards. "Climate Change and Postglacial Human Dispersals in Southeast Asia". Oxford Journals. Retrieved March 28, 2017.  ^ DNA Sheds New Light on Polynesian Migration ^ Kayser, Manfred; Lao, Oscar; Saar, Kathrin; Brauer, Silke; Wang, Xingyu; Nürnberg, Peter; Trent, Ronald J.; Stoneking, Mark (2008). "Genome-wide analysis indicates more Asian than Melanesian
Melanesian
ancestry of Polynesians". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 82 (1): 194–198. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.010. PMC 2253960 . PMID 18179899.  ^ Friedlaender, Jonathan S.; Friedlaender, Françoise R.; Reed, Floyd A.; Kidd, Kenneth K.; Kidd, Judith R.; Chambers, Geoffrey K.; Lea, Rodney A.; et al. (2008). "The genetic structure of Pacific Islanders". PLOS Genetics. 4 (1): e19. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0040019. PMC 2211537 . PMID 18208337.  ^ Assessing Y-chromosome Variation in the South Pacific Using Newly Detected, by Krista Erin Latham [1] Archived 2015-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Sindya N. Bhanoo (3 May 2012). "Another Genetic Quirk of the Solomon Islands: Blond
Blond
Hair". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2012.  ^ "Synthèse N°35 – Recensement de la population 2014" (pdf). Nouméa, Nouvelle Calédonie: Institut de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (ISEE). 26 August 2014. p. 3. Retrieved 15 June 2016.  ^ "About PNG". Canberra, Australia: High Commission of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. Retrieved 15 June 2016.  ^ "Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2011". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Belconnen, ACT. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 

v t e

Melanesia

Sovereign states

Fiji Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands Vanuatu

Other political units

West Papua (region)

Papua (province) West Papua (province)

New Caledonia

Culture

People Languages Music Mythology Universities

Geography

Region Island Melanesia New Guinea Louisiade archipelago Bismarck Archipelago Santa Cruz Islands Loyalty Islands Lau Islands d'Entrecasteaux Islands Raja Ampat Islands Schouten Islands Torres Strait Islands Trobriand Islands Woodlark Island

Organizations

Melanesian
Melanesian
Spearhead Group Melanesia
Melanesia
2000

Sports

Melanesia
Melanesia
Cup Melanesian
Melanesian
Super Cup

Politics

Political parties United Liberation Movement for West Papua

Commons Category

v t e

Ethnic groups in Indonesia
Indonesia
by region

Indonesians

Sumatra

Acehnese Batak

Angkola Karo Mandailing Pakpak Simalungun Toba Alas Kluet Singkil

Enggano Gayo Kubu Lampung Lubu Malay

Batin

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Lebbo' Uma Baka'

Bidayuh

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Iban

Mualang

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Ot Danum

Dusun

Kwijau

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Malay

Berau

Orang laut

Bajau Suluk

Sulawesi

Buginese Butonese Bonerate Gorontaloan Lindu Makassarese Mandarese Minahasan Mongondow Muna Pamona Sangirese Tau Taa Wana Toraja

Papua

Melanesians

Papuan

Asmat Bauzi Dani Fayu Kombai Korowai Koteka

Amungme Ekari Lani Moni Yali

Marind Mek Sawi Wolani

Lesser Sunda Islands

Abui Atoni Bali Aga Balinese Bunak Kemak Lamaholot Manggarai Nage Sasak Savu Sika Sumba Sumbawa

Maluku Islands

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Non-indigenous

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Authority control

GN