- Madagascar was settled 1200 years ago by approximately 30 women, mostly of Indonesian descent.
- Many Malagasy carry a gene tied to Indonesia.
- Native Malagasy people today can likely trace their heritage back to the 30 founding mothers of the island.
Madagascar was first settled and founded by approximately 30 women, mostly of Indonesian descent, who may have sailed off course in a wayward vessel 1200 years ago.
The discovery negates a prior theory that a large, planned settlement process took place on the island of Madagascar, located off the east coast of Africa. Traditionally it was thought to have been settled by Indonesian traders moving along the coasts of the Indian Ocean.
Most native Madagascar people today, called Malagasy, can trace their ancestry back to the founding 30 mothers, according to an extensive new DNA study published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B,. Researchers focused on mitochondrial DNA, passed down from mothers to their offspring. Scientists assume some men were with the women.