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New Zealand colonization 1280ad

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  • DDeden
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080603/ap_on_sc/sci_new_zealand_human_arrival_1 WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Radiocarbon dating of rat bones and rat-gnawed seeds
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 3, 2008
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080603/ap_on_sc/sci_new_zealand_human_arrival_1

      WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Radiocarbon dating of rat bones and
      rat-gnawed seeds reinforces a theory that human settlers did not
      arrive in New Zealand until 1300 A.D. â€" about 1,000 years later than
      some scientists believe, according to a study released Tuesday.

      The first settlement date "has been highly debated for decades," said
      Dr. Janet Wilmshurst, a New Zealander who led the international team
      of researchers in the four-year study. The team carbon dated rat bones
      and native seeds, and concluded that the earliest evidence of human
      colonization in the South Pacific country was from 1280 A.D. to 1300 A.D.

      Retired Maori Studies professor Ranganui Walker said the findings
      supported the oral history of the Maoris who claim they were the first
      Polynesians to arrive in New Zealand around that time. The Morioris,
      non-Maori Polynesians, have claimed they arrived earlier.

      "We now have a clear picture of our country's settlement that lays to
      rest once and for all the Moriori myth, and so it is something to
      celebrate," Walker said.

      The study, published Tuesday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the
      National Academy of Sciences, contradicts findings from a previous
      radiocarbon dating study of rat bones, published in Nature magazine in
      1996. That study found evidence that man was in New Zealand from
      around 200 B.C.

      Wilmshurst and her team re-excavated and re-dated bones from nearly
      all the previously investigated sites. They said none of the rat bones
      that they studied were from earlier than 1280.

      "As the Pacific rat or kiore cannot swim very far, it can only have
      arrived in New Zealand with people on board their canoes, either as
      cargo or stowaways," Wilmshurst said. "Therefore, the earliest
      evidence of the Pacific rat in New Zealand must indicate the arrival
      of people."

      The new dating of the rat bones was also supported by the dating of
      more than 100 woody seeds â€" many with telltale rat bite markings â€"
      that had been preserved in peat and swamp sites on North and South
      Islands, Wilmshurst noted.

      Dr. Tom Higham, a member of Wilmhurst's team and deputy director of
      the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at Oxford University, said the
      teeth marks could not be mistaken for those of another animal.

      He said the rat-gnawed seeds provided strong additional evidence for
      the arrival of rats, and therefore humans, and were an indirect way of
      testing the veracity of the dates done on the rat bones.

      Among the seeds analyzed were some that were intact or bird-cracked,
      and the rat-gnawed ones occurred in both islands only after about 1280.

      But Prof. Richard Holdaway, a lead researcher on the earlier human
      contact theory published in Nature, on Tuesday stood by his 1996 study
      that found evidence of rats and humans in New Zealand more than 2,000
      years ago.

      "Rats arrived, people obviously arrived (but) whether they stayed â€" I
      have consistently said they didn't," he told TV3 News. He also
      suggested that the new research team did not consider all available
      evidence in its study, leading to the different results.

      But University of Adelaide paleontologist Trevor Worthy, a member of
      the Wilmhurst team, was adamant the new carbon dating results proved
      the Nature claim wrong.

      "There is no supporting ecological or archaeological evidence for the
      presence of Pacific rat or humans until 1280-1300 A.D. and the
      reliability of the bone dating from that first study has been
      questioned," Worthy said. He did not explain why the other study had
      been questioned, or by whom.
    • Marc Verhaegen
      PNAS 105:7676-80 OPEN ACCESS ARTICLE Dating the late prehistoric dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand using the commensal Pacific rat JM Wilmshurst, AJ
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 4, 2008
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        PNAS 105:7676-80
        OPEN ACCESS ARTICLE
        Dating the late prehistoric dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand using
        the commensal Pacific rat
        JM Wilmshurst, AJ Anderson, TFG Higham & TH Worthy 2008

        The pristine island eco-systems of E.Polynesia were among the last places on
        Earth settled by prehistoric people, and their colonization triggered a
        devastating transformation. Overhunting contributed to widespread faunal
        extinctions & the decline of marine megafauna, fires destroyed lowland
        forests, the introduction of the omnivorous Pacific rat Rattus exulans led
        to a new wave of predation on the biota. E.Polynesian islands preserve
        exceptionally detailed records of the initial prehistoric impacts on highly
        vulnerable eco-systems, but nearly all such studies are clouded by
        persistent controversies over the timing of initial human colonization,
        which has resulted in proposed settlement chronologies varying from c 200 BC
        1000 AD or younger. Such differences underpin radically divergent
        inerpretations of human dispersal from W.Polynesia & of ecological & social
        transformation in E.Polynesia and ultimately obfuscate the timing & patterns
        of this process.
        Using New Zealand as an example, we provide a reliable approach for
        accurately dating initial human colonization on Pacific islands by
        radio-carbon dating the arrival of the Pacific rat. Radio-carbon dates on
        distinctive rat-gnawed seeds & rat bones show that the Pacific rat was
        introduced to both main islands of New Zealand c 1280 AD, a millennium later
        than previously assumed. This matches with the earliest-dated archaeological
        sites, human-induced faunal extinctions & deforestation, implying there was
        no long period of invisibility in either the archaeological or
        palaeo-ecological records.


        Op 04-06-2008 03:41, DDeden <alas_my_loves@...> schreef:

        >
        >
        >
        > http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080603/ap_on_sc/sci_new_zealand_human_arrival_1
        >
        > WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Radiocarbon dating of rat bones and
        > rat-gnawed seeds reinforces a theory that human settlers did not
        > arrive in New Zealand until 1300 A.D. â€" about 1,000 years later than
        > some scientists believe, according to a study released Tuesday.
        >
        > The first settlement date "has been highly debated for decades," said
        > Dr. Janet Wilmshurst, a New Zealander who led the international team
        > of researchers in the four-year study. The team carbon dated rat bones
        > and native seeds, and concluded that the earliest evidence of human
        > colonization in the South Pacific country was from 1280 A.D. to 1300 A.D.
        >
        > Retired Maori Studies professor Ranganui Walker said the findings
        > supported the oral history of the Maoris who claim they were the first
        > Polynesians to arrive in New Zealand around that time. The Morioris,
        > non-Maori Polynesians, have claimed they arrived earlier.
        >
        > "We now have a clear picture of our country's settlement that lays to
        > rest once and for all the Moriori myth, and so it is something to
        > celebrate," Walker said.
        >
        > The study, published Tuesday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the
        > National Academy of Sciences, contradicts findings from a previous
        > radiocarbon dating study of rat bones, published in Nature magazine in
        > 1996. That study found evidence that man was in New Zealand from
        > around 200 B.C.
        >
        > Wilmshurst and her team re-excavated and re-dated bones from nearly
        > all the previously investigated sites. They said none of the rat bones
        > that they studied were from earlier than 1280.
        >
        > "As the Pacific rat or kiore cannot swim very far, it can only have
        > arrived in New Zealand with people on board their canoes, either as
        > cargo or stowaways," Wilmshurst said. "Therefore, the earliest
        > evidence of the Pacific rat in New Zealand must indicate the arrival
        > of people."
        >
        > The new dating of the rat bones was also supported by the dating of
        > more than 100 woody seeds â€" many with telltale rat bite markings â€"
        > that had been preserved in peat and swamp sites on North and South
        > Islands, Wilmshurst noted.
        >
        > Dr. Tom Higham, a member of Wilmhurst's team and deputy director of
        > the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at Oxford University, said the
        > teeth marks could not be mistaken for those of another animal.
        >
        > He said the rat-gnawed seeds provided strong additional evidence for
        > the arrival of rats, and therefore humans, and were an indirect way of
        > testing the veracity of the dates done on the rat bones.
        >
        > Among the seeds analyzed were some that were intact or bird-cracked,
        > and the rat-gnawed ones occurred in both islands only after about 1280.
        >
        > But Prof. Richard Holdaway, a lead researcher on the earlier human
        > contact theory published in Nature, on Tuesday stood by his 1996 study
        > that found evidence of rats and humans in New Zealand more than 2,000
        > years ago.
        >
        > "Rats arrived, people obviously arrived (but) whether they stayed â€" I
        > have consistently said they didn't," he told TV3 News. He also
        > suggested that the new research team did not consider all available
        > evidence in its study, leading to the different results.
        >
        > But University of Adelaide paleontologist Trevor Worthy, a member of
        > the Wilmhurst team, was adamant the new carbon dating results proved
        > the Nature claim wrong.
        >
        > "There is no supporting ecological or archaeological evidence for the
        > presence of Pacific rat or humans until 1280-1300 A.D. and the
        > reliability of the bone dating from that first study has been
        > questioned," Worthy said. He did not explain why the other study had
        been questioned, or by whom.
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