Two ancient human genomes reveal Polynesian ancestry among the indigenous Botocudos of Brazil

Anna Sapfo Malaspinas, Oscar Lao, Hannes Schroeder, Morten Rasmussen, Maanasa Raghavan, Ida Moltke, Paula F. Campos, Francisca Santana Sagredo, Simon Rasmussen, Vanessa F. Gonçalves, Anders Albrechtsen, Morten E. Allentoft, Philip L.F. Johnson, Mingkun Li, Silvia Reis, Danilo V. Bernardo, Michael Degiorgio, Ana T. Duggan, Murilo Bastos, Yong WangJesper Stenderup, J. Victor Moreno-Mayar, Søren Brunak, Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten, Emily Hodges, Gregory J. Hannon, Ludovic Orlando, T. Douglas Price, Jeffrey D. Jensen, Rasmus Nielsen, Jan Heinemeier, Jesper Olsen, Claudia Rodrigues-Carvalho, Marta Mirazón Lahr, Walter A. Neves, Manfred Kayser, Thomas Higham, Mark Stoneking, Sergio D.J. Pena, Eske Willerslev

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Summary Understanding the peopling of the Americas remains an important and challenging question. Here, we present 14C dates, and morphological, isotopic and genomic sequence data from two human skulls from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, part of one of the indigenous groups known as 'Botocudos'. We find that their genomic ancestry is Polynesian, with no detectable Native American component. Radiocarbon analysis of the skulls shows that the individuals had died prior to the beginning of the 19th century. Our findings could either represent genomic evidence of Polynesians reaching South America during their Pacific expansion, or European-mediated transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1035-R1037
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 3 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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