No one is an island: The history of human genetic ancestry in Madagascar
More than 4,000 years ago, a proto-globalization process started in the Indian Ocean, one of the outcomes being a great human migration of African and Asian peoples spreading across the Indian Ocean to inhabit the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar. Austronesian peoples came from Borneo on boats, and Bantu migrants crossed over from East Africa. Overall, the Malagasy is thought to be composed by more than a dozen of ethnic groups, and the specific geographic, linguistic origins and settlement dates are still hotly debated.
|Dayak village with houses on pilotis, Southeast Borneo |
[Credit: F-X Ricaut]
A new picture has emerged on the settlement of Madagascar.
Lastly, the authors propose that a language shift occurred in Southeast Borneo after the migration of Banjar to Madagascar. It is thought that the Banjar, currently speaking a Malay language, presumably spoke a language closer to that reconstructed for Proto-Malagasy. This linguistic change would have followed a major cultural and genetic admixture with Malay, driven by a Malay Empire trading post in Southeast Borneo. The collapse of the Malay Empire during the 15th and 16th centuries could correspond to the end of the Malay gene mix into the Banjar population.
|A landscape from South of Madagascar |
[Credit: T. Letellier]
Source: Oxford University Press [July 05, 2016]