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Study Shows Climate Change Drove Ethnic Tribes to the Philippines

'Our findings suggest that instead of farming, climate change may have played a more important role in driving the mass movement of populations in various directions.'
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The Philippines, with more than 7,000 islands, has been a link between Southeast Asia, Australia, and more through time. The archipelago and its people have fascinated researchers for its complex origins, inter-relatedness, and genetic diversity.

An Uppsala University-led study by a group of researchers from Australia, Taiwan, and the Philippines has revealed just how complex exactly it all is. The biggest revelation? Population waves that occurred between 15,000 and 7,000 years ago were caused by climate change as sea levels rose.

"Our findings suggest that instead of farming, climate change may have played a more important role in driving the mass movement of populations in various directions," says co-author Maximilian Larena, researcher at Uppsala University’s Department of Organismal Biology.

Using 2.3 million molecular DNA markers, scientists were able to investigate where Filipino people came from to figure out just how related we are. "Different ethnic groups arrived successively. Negritos, the first Filipinos, were followed by various groups, including those who call themselves the Manobo and Sama," the study said.

The results debunk a long-held belief that culture, including language, people, and ways of life, move as a single unit. Researchers add that the people that migrated to the Philippines more than seven millennia ago spread Austronesian languages with them.

The more you know.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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