A study focused on the origins of Chile’s Mapuche indigenous population and found roots in the Central Andes and Amazonia. The research was carried out by European and Latin American universities. It identified specific forms of food and language exchange between certain groups.
Researchers studying the genes of 64 participants belonging to the Pehuenche, Lafkenche, and Huilliche indigenous populations from Araucanía region and Chiloé island found that these Mapuche groups originate from the Southern Cone, the Central Andes, and the Amazonian lowlands.
The study, published in Current Biology, found that crops like potato, quinoa, beans, squash, and maize were first domesticated in the Central Andes and then introduced to the southern regions, while Quechua words were incorporated into Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s language.
The Mapuche ancestry cluster was distinct from the other main clusters from the Central Andes and Amazonia. Simulation studies dated the split between Mapuche and Andean Aymara to 6800 B.C.
Universities from Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Peru, Germany, Colombia, and Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica took part in the research.
Chongyang Zhang is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s program in journalism, media and globalisation. His interest lies in the relations among the United States, Latin America and China. He is currently doing an exchange semester at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.