People of Madagascar have origins in Borneo?
A new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics confirms that the people of Madagascar have origins in both East Africa and also distant Borneo.
Despite the island's proximity to southern Africa, some anthropologists believe it was ethnic Indonesians who first settled Madagascar 1500-2000 years ago.
The language of Madagascar, called Malagasy, can be traced back to Indonesia where it most closely resembles the modern Malayo-Polynesian language of Ma'anyan, which is spoken by people in the Barito Valley of southern Borneo.
Some anthropologists postulate that these Indonesians could have either sailed directly across the Indian ocean -- possible given the sailing prowess of these people -- or gradually made their way along the coast of South Asia eventually finding their way to the island, which is the fourth largest in the world.
On the way, these intrepid explorers could have mixed with mainland Africans or Africans may have arrived at a later date.
Regardless of who set foot first on the island, most experts agree that Madagascar's inhabitants arrived relatively recently.
There is no evidence of a stone age in Madagascar and the island was settled around the time Polynesians reached the planet's most isolated place -- Easter Island.
It is thought that subsequent migrations have brought other groups (Arabs and Indians) into the ethnic and cultural mix.
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