For instance, some 20,000 years Baf-A1 mouse ago people are thought to have introduced a few small mammals to
islands in the Bismarck Archipelago (White, 2004). Island agriculturalists often brought ‘transported landscapes’ along with them, including a suite of domesticated plants and animals that make human colonization signatures on many islands easy to identify (see Kirch, 2000, McGovern et al., 2007 and Zeder, 2008). In the sections that follow, we explore these issues, relying on extensive archeological and ecological research in Polynesia, the Caribbean, and California’s Channel Islands. A key component of our discussion is the importance of how island physical characteristics (size, age, isolation, etc.), in tandem with human decision making, shape ancient environmental developments on islands (Table 1). The Polynesian islands include 10 principal archipelagoes (Tonga, Samoa, Society, Cook, Austral, Tuamotu, Gambier (Mangareva), Marquesas, Hawai’i, and New Zealand) and many other isolated islands within a vast triangle defined by apices at New Zealand, Hawai’i, and Easter Island. Eighteen smaller islands within
Melanesia and Micronesia, known as Polynesian Outliers, are also occupied by Polynesian-speaking peoples. Archeological, linguistic, and human biological research has confirmed that the Polynesian cultures, languages, Cell Cycle inhibitor and peoples form a monophyletic group within the larger family of Austronesian cultures, languages, and peoples (Kirch and Green, 2001). The immediate homeland of the Polynesians was situated in the adjacent archipelagoes of Tonga and Samoa (along Ureohydrolase with more isolated Futuna and ‘Uvea), which were settled by Eastern Lapita colonists ca. 880–896 B.C. (2830–2846 B.P.; Burley et al., 2012). Ancestral Polynesian
culture and Proto-Polynesian language emerged in this region by the end of the first millennium B.C. (Kirch and Green, 2001). A significant diaspora of Polynesian peoples beginning late in the first millennium A.D. then led to the discovery and colonization of the remainder of the Polynesian triangle and Outliers. The last archipelago to be settled was New Zealand, around A.D. 1280 (Kirch, 2000 and Wilmshurst et al., 2008). The Polynesian islands all lie within Remote Oceania, which had no human occupants prior to the dispersal of Austronesians who possessed outrigger sailing canoe technology, a horticultural subsistence economy, and sophisticated knowledge of fishing and marine exploitation (Kirch, 2000). Ranging in size from diminutive Anuta (0.8 km2) to sub-continental New Zealand (268,680 km2), the Polynesian islands span tropical, subtropical, and temperate climatic zones. They also vary in geological age and complexity, and in their terrestrial and marine ecosystems.