chapter  4
23 Pages

Controlled comparison and the phylogenetic model in Polynesian culture history

WithPatrick V. Kirch

More than any other region in Oceania, Polynesia stands out as an ideal unit for the application of controlled comparison within a phylogenetic model. Multiple lines of evidence from archaeology, historical linguistics and comparative ethnography indicate that the historically documented Polynesian cultures all descend from a common ancestor. Controlled comparison allows for the reconstruction of many aspects of the ancestral culture, while the phylogenetic pattern of divergence and differentiation can be specified through both linguistic and archaeological evidence. This approach allows for distinguishing those aspects of later Polynesian cultures that arose as a consequence of common inheritance (homologous features) from those that emerged due to innovation or convergence (analogous features).