Navigation Links
Voyages of discovery or necessity?
Date:5/18/2009

Ciguatera poisoning, the food-borne disease that can come from eating large, carnivorous reef fish, causes vomiting, headaches, and a burning sensation upon contact with cold surfaces. An early morning walk on cool beach sand can become a painful stroll on fiery coals to a ciguatera victim. But is this common toxin poisoning also the key to a larger mystery? That is, the storied migrations of the Polynesian natives who colonized New Zealand, Easter Island and, possibly, Hawaii in the 11th to 15th centuries? Could ciguatera be the reason masses of people left paradise?

Teina Rongo, a Cook Island Maori from Rarotonga and a Ph.D. student at the Florida Institute of Technology, and his faculty advisers Professors Robert van Woesik and Mark Bush, propose this intriguing theory in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Biogeography. Based on archeological evidence, paleoclimatic data and modern reports of ciguatera poisoning, they theorize that ciguatera outbreaks were linked to climate and that the consequent outbreaks prompted historical migrations of Polynesians.

Why would historic populations of Cook Islanders take the chance of voyaging? A journey beyond the horizon was risky and favorable landfalls were uncertain. It is known that this population was heavily reliant on fish as a source of protein, and the scientists suggest that once their fish resources became inedible, voyaging became a necessity.

Modern Cook Islanders, though surrounded by an ocean teeming with fish, don't eat fish as a regular part of their diet but instead eat processed, imported foods. In the late 1990s, lower-income families who could not afford processed foods emigrated to New Zealand and Australia. The researchers suggest that past migrations had similar roots. The heightened voyaging from A.D. 1000 to 1450 in eastern Polynesia was likely prompted by ciguatera fish poisoning. There were few options but to leave once the staple diet of an island nation became poisonous.

"Our approach brings us a step closer to solving the mysteries of ciguatera and the storied Polynesian native migrations. We hope it will lead to better forecasting and planning for ciguatera outbreaks" says van Woesik.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen Rhine
krhine@fit.edu
321-674-8964
Florida Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NASA Earth system science meeting celebrates 20 years of discovery
2. Cells split personality is a major discovery into neurological diseases
3. Stowers researchers develop whole genome sequencing approach for mutation discovery
4. Google Earth aids discovery of early African mammal fossils
5. Penn researchers demonstrate a new model for drug discovery with a fluorescent anesthetic
6. Gene discovery could lead to male contraceptive
7. Bioscience institutions come together to launch Microlife Discovery Center for area students
8. Teeth of Columbus crew flesh out tale of new world discovery
9. Elephant shark genome sequence leads to discovery of color perception in deep-sea fish
10. Cellular discovery may lead to targeted treatment for rare form of anemia
11. New discovery paves the way for new diagnosis of serious lung disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(Date:4/3/2017)...  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis Corporation,s ... statistically significant association between the potency of ... objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. The ... cancer patients will respond to CAR-T cell ... to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and cell ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, ... his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells ... and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied ... the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The ... medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana ... place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel ... three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped ... the structural biology community. The winners worked with ... now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: