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Human settlement of the western fringes of the Pacific began at least 40,000 years ago. Long, hazardous sea voyages were the only way of reaching the tiny islands scattered through this vast expanse of ocean. Food and shelter were hard to come by, even on land. This book documents how these settlers adapted culturally and biologically to the distinctive Pacific environment, and how they evolved into the large-bodied, muscular people seen today in New Zealand, Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. Philip Houghton considers recent studies of DNA, patterns of health and disease, and computer simulations of human survival at sea based on the likely routes through the Pacific. People of the Great Ocean is a unique work based on extensive research and careful analysis. Philip Houghton's text presents detailed technical information, but remains highly readable and persuasive.
First published in 1996.