A-S Malaspinas, O Lao, H Schroeder, M Rasmussen, M Raghavan, I Moltke, PF Campos, FS Sagredo, S Rasmussen, VF Gonçalves, A Albrechtsen, ME Allentoft, PLF Johnson, M Li, S Reis, DV Bernardo, M DeGiorgio, AT Duggan, M Bastos, Y Wang, J Stenderup, JV Moreno-Mayar, S Brunak, T Sicheritz-Ponten, E Hodges, GJ Hannon, L Orlando, TD Price, JD Jensen, R Nielsen, J Heinemeier, J Olsen, C Rodrigues-Carvalho, MM Lahr, WA Neves, M Kayser, T Higham, M Stoneking, SDJ Pena, E Willerslev
Understanding the peopling of the Americas remains an important and challenging question. Here, we present (14)C dates, and morphological, isotopic and genomic sequence data from two human skulls from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, part of one of the indigenous groups known as 'Botocudos'. We find that their genomic ancestry is Polynesian, with no detectable Native American component. Radiocarbon analysis of the skulls shows that the individuals had died prior to the beginning of the 19th century. Our findings could either represent genomic evidence of Polynesians reaching South America during their Pacific expansion, or European-mediated transport.