Dermatoglyphics of the Isolated Kapingamarangese of Micronesia
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Kapingamarangi is the southernmost island of the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, just 1 degree north of the equator in the South Pacific (Figure 1). The island is a typical low ring-shaped coral atoll. However, the Kapingamarangese are the most isolated group in Micronesia. The island lies off the trade routes and is tucked away between Micronesia to the north and Melanesia to the south. Yet, the Kapingamarangese stand in marked contrast in physical type and language as well as culturally to other Micronesians. They are racially and culturally more similar to Polynesians than to Micronesians (Simmons, Graydon, & Semple 1953). The island is inhabited by approximately 500 Kapingamarangese who speak a Polynesian language. Since the atoll is unable to support more individuals, some Kapingamarangese have migrated to the larger Micronesian island of Ponape (Pohnpe) during the past 50 years (Simmons et al. 1953; Simmons & Graydon 1965).
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