Image: Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Melanesian people probably never thought they’d be so crucial to our understanding of humanity’s origins. But when a group of scientists looked more closely into the DNA of the remote Pacific islanders, they made a startling discovery. And it’s one that could turn our comprehension of our common ancestry on its head.

Image: @Didier Marti/Getty Images

Melanesia is the name for a broad region of Oceania, including four countries and some smaller islands. Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands all fall under the sub-region. And it’s the populations of these areas that sparked the interests of scientists.

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