Rats as Proxies for Human Expansion in the Pacific

ResearchBlogging.org The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has an interesting article on the settlement of New Zealand. The short version of the story is that since Pacific rats are human commensals they can serve as proxies for human expansion across the Pacific. Based on this idea, the authors of the paper used radiocarbon dating to date the first appearance of Pacific rats in New Zealand. The long version of the story serves as an instructive example on the repeatability of science and a rebuke to creationists who accuse evolutionists of arbitrarily accepting or rejecting radiocarbon dates based on their conformity to evolutionary theory. This post will explore the first part and I will return to the latter two issues in a separate post.

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