The Tongan Castaways

A Wikipedia discovery:

The Tongan castaways were a group of six boys between 13 and 16 (Luke Veikoso, Fatai Latu, Sione Fataua, Tevita Siola’a, Kolo Fekitoa, and Mano Totau), who, in 1965, ran away from a school on the island of Tonga, stole a boat, and became shipwrecked on the deserted remote island of ʻAta.

The boys formed a strong bond and, despite deprivations and injuries, kept themselves fit and healthy for 15 months. They survived primarily through consumption of local birds, fish, wild taro, and chickens and bananas that had been raised and cultivated on the island 100 years prior. They captured rainwater using hollowed out logs, though it was sparse during the initial months of their survival. They drank blood from seabirds when they did not have enough water.[1]

They were discovered in 1966 by Australian fisherman Peter Warner and returned with him to Tonga, where they were immediately imprisoned for the theft of the boat. The boys were released from prison after Warner compensated the owner of the stolen boat, and arranged for them to participate in a film for Australian media.

Peter Warner died this month at the age of 90. The story of the Tongan Castaways has often been described as a “real-life Lord of the Flies,” although in this case reality is a lot more hopeful than fiction. As Steve Sailer comments: “My guess is that teachers assign Golding’s book because a) it holds boys’ attention, and b) it gets across the message: without my guidance, you little stinkers would be doomed.”

Gene Flow in the Pacific

From the Guardian (hat tip: Paul Halsall), something I’ve always wondered about:

Indigenous Americans had contact with Polynesians 800 years ago, DNA reveals

Indigenous Americans and Polynesians bridged vast expanses of open ocean around the year 1200 and mingled, leaving incontrovertible proof of their encounter in the DNA of present-day populations, new studies have revealed.

Whether peoples from what is today Colombia or Ecuador drifted thousands of kilometres to tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific, or whether seafaring Polynesians sailed upwind to South America and then back again, is still unknown.

But what is certain, according to a study in Nature, is that it took place hundreds of years before Europeans set foot in either region, and left individuals scattered across what became French Polynesia with signature traces of the New World in their DNA.

“These findings change our understanding of one of the most unknown chapters in the history of our species’ great continental expansions,” the senior author Andreas Moreno-Estrada, principal investigator at Mexico’s National Laboratory of Genomics for biodiversity, told AFP.

Read the whole thing.