Phylogeny and ancient DNA of Sus provides insights into neolithic expansion in Island Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Human settlement of Oceania marked the culmination of a global colonization process that began when humans first left Africa at least 90,000 years ago. The precise origins and dispersal routes of the Austronesian peoples and the associated Lapita culture remain contentious, and numerous disparate models of dispersal (based primarily on linguistic, genetic, and archeological data) have been proposed. Here, through the use of mtDNA from 781 modern and ancient Sus specimens, we provide evidence for an early human-mediated translocation of the Sulawesi warty pig (Sus celebensis) to Flores and Timor and two later separate human-mediated dispersals of domestic pig (Sus scrofa) through Island Southeast Asia into Oceania. Of the later dispersal routes, one is unequivocally associated with the Neolithic (Lapita) and later Polynesian migrations and links modern and archeological Javan, Sumatran, Wallacean, and Oceanic pigs with mainland Southeast Asian S. scrofa. Archeological and genetic evidence shows these pigs were certainly introduced to islands east of the Wallace Line, including New Guinea, and that so-called "wild" pigs within this region are most likely feral descendants of domestic pigs introduced by early agriculturalists. The other later pig dispersal links mainland East Asian pigs to western Micronesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. These results provide important data with which to test current models for human dispersal in the region.