by Veronika Meduna
Lisa Matisoo-Smith dissecting a rat in Papua New Guinea.
The settlement of the Pacific region was one of the most extraordinary feats in human history. It involved one of the earliest population migrations out of Africa, occurring over 40,000 years ago, and the last major human population expansion, resulting in the settlement of the Polynesian Triangle. Lisa Matisoo-Smith, a biological anthropologist at the University of Auckland and a principal investigator at the Allan Wilson Centre of Molecular Ecology and Evolution, explains genetic research that traces the migration path of the early navigators, based on ancient and modern DNA of people and the animals they brought with them. She is also presenting a series of lectures during the week starting March 23.