Oceania covers a huge area, only Asia is comparable. It is, however, an ocean area. The actual land mass is realtivly limited with the exception of Australia. This of course severly limits the population. Most of oceania is situated in the South Pacific, nearly all of the land mass. The major countries are located in the west (part of Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines). Taiwan is generally seen as part of Asia (China) geographically. Much of the area is geologiclly part of southeast Asia. And suring ie ages much of the area was conncted with land bridges. Then there is what was once called the South Sea Islands. There are four regional groupings based on both geography and ethnicity: Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Australasia includes Australia and New Zealand, most of the land mass of the South Seas area. Australasia also includes New Guinea which is commonly associated with Melanesia because of the etnicity of the population. Australia and New Zealand were initially settled by Polyneisian people (the Maori) and melonesian people (the aborigenes). Melanesia takes its name from the negroid population. It extends from New Guinea to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji. Micronesia takes it name grom the small size of the many islands that it includes. There are literally thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. There is a shared cultural history with the two other two island regions, Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south, although not as much as one theorized. Both Melenesiand Polynesians had navigational skills, but the Polynesians had superior skills. Much of Melaenesia such as New Guinea is populated by people who walked there. Moder DNA studies have enavled researchers to assess pre-historic times. DNA studies have found that neither Polynesians nor Micronesians have much genetic connection to Melanesians. This suggests that having developed their sailing outrigger canoes and navigational skills, the ancestors of the Polynesians migrating from East Asia, moved through the Melanesian area without confronting the population of inhabited areas. They seem to kept on sailing to eastern areas where they settled uninhabited islands. As a result, they left little genetic footprint in Melanesia. [Friedlaender] Polynesia consists of more than 1,000 islands scattered over a huge area of the the central and southern Pacific. The region derives its name from the ethnicity of the population wgich settled it -- the Polynesias. There are many common bonds, including the language, culture, and beliefs. Most importantly there was a strong tradition of sailing and navigation which explain the huge reach of the population which extended to Gawaii in the north and Easter Island approching the coast of South America in the east.
Friedlaender, Jonathan. "Genome scans show Polynesians have little genetic relationship to Melanesians", Press Release, Temple University (January 17, 2008).
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