Polar Bear: Polynesians fascinate me because they have Asian (SEA or Taiwan) roots and big builds. The Austronesian women they descend from must’ve been large and in charge.
Good theory but that’s not what happened. They went on long sea voyages to populate the Polynesian islands, but first, they came from Taiwan all the way to Papua New Guinea, which was also a very long voyage.
These were the Lapita people from Taiwan and later from coastal New Guinea and then on to Polynesia. The Lapitas were the greatest mariners who ever lived! And they were around a very long time ago. They are thought to have navigated by the stars.
I did a lot of work on another group of ancient Indo-European people speaking a now extinct language (Liburnian) on the Croatian islands. They were also thought to be amazing navigators. Some people think they even went to India! They also navigated by the stars. It’s pretty amazing that primitive people could figure something like that out so accurately.
Obviously the big problem at sea is fresh water. There are probably always plenty of fish to catch and eat and you can live off of those.
Scurvy was possibly not yet a problem for whatever reason and only turned up among British mariners later on. It’s amazing how they figured that one out too.
Sailors kept getting scurvy. It was Vitamin C deficiency because they were living off hard tack (a form of hard bread) and water, pretty much. Well, scurvy can make you pretty ill. I suppose some sailor at some point must have had some citrus with him on a ship, and when everyone else got scurvy, he avoided it.
And humans are intelligent enough to put two and two together when something like that happens. “Let’s see. What’s this guy doing that no one else is doing? How’s he not getting it? He’s eating citrus!”
Or they went back into port and those who ate citrus right away got better fastest. Who knows! All we know is back then people didn’t even understand about vitamins and minerals, much less deficiencies and yet somehow they figured out that you needed to bring citrus with you on ship voyages to keep from getting scurvy.
Incidentally this is where the word Limey for British person comes from. British were also the greatest mariners of their own time and at one time, the Union Jack ruled over all the High Seas. Spain was the previous power but the turning point came with the Defeat of the Spanish Armada by the British in the early 1500’s. British sailors had limes aboard their ship to eat to keep from getting scurvy, hence, the slang term.
Anyway somehow or other the Polynesians managed to have enough water with them for these long voyages.
How on Earth did they know that they would find islands out there somewhere? Many of those islands are a long way from anything else. They could have kept sailing on and on and never found any island anywhere, at which point, they would all die.
Anyway they somehow had enough water and food to survive. But the theory is that things were very difficult on these long voyages, and only those who could best withstand famine and other harsh conditions survived. So by the end of the voyage, only the biggest and strongest were still alive – all the others were dead.
Well, it’s obviously a just-so story like so many evolutionary explanations, but at least it’s a theory. And I ask the detractors of this theory: Fine, do you have a better theory? Of course they never do.
5 thoughts on “How Did the Polynesians Get So Huge?”
Then Spam made every Polynesian equal.
Cannibalism? In the past, of course.
Yes, they don’t do that anymore. I heard it tastes like “sweet pork.” In New “Guinea and places like that, they call human flesh “long pig.” I must say I have never actually eaten human flesh before, other than metaphorically of course, and that’s only with females. I often wonder what it tastes like, but I could never forgive myself if I deigned to taste Roast Human.
I used to be bothered by that thought. What would I do in a real starvation situation due to war, nuclear holocaust, whatever?
Then I saw Mutiny on the Bounty (1984) where Captain Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) settles the question for me. He along with his loyal crew are cast away by the mutineers on the Bounty led by Deputy Christian (Mel Gibson). They’re all on the brink of starvation.
Here’s that epic scene.
p.s. – The same guy played the Hannibal, but why not? Hopkins is the finest actor of the 20th century.