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The team sequenced the DNA at up to 231,000 positions across the genomes of each skeleton and compared the sequences to those of nearly 800 present-day people from 83 populations in East Asia and Oceania.

n─ôsos "island") is a subregion of Oceania, made up of more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean.

Back in 1985, archaeologist Peter Bellwood of the Australian National University in Canberra proposed that the Lapita had roots in farming cultures in East Asia.

Based on dating of Lapita sites, he proposed that they moved rapidly from mainland China to Taiwan and the Philippines, then out across the open ocean from Vanuatu to Samoa, covering 24,300 kilometers in about 300 years.

Most Polynesian islands and archipelagos, including the Hawaiian Islands and Samoa, are composed of volcanic islands built by hotspots.