Papuan people

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Papuan people
Orang Papua
Cannibals, Papua.jpg
Papuan men, circa 1910.
Regions with significant populations
New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and West Papua (region), Indonesia), East Timor
Trans–New Guinea languages, Papuan languages
Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Animism, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Melanesians, Moluccans, Indigenous Australians

Papuan is an umbrella term for the various indigenous peoples of New Guinea and neighbouring islands, speakers of the Papuan languages. They are often distinguished ethnically and linguistically from Austronesians, speakers of a language family introduced into New Guinea about three thousand years ago.


A Papuan Sail Boat.

In a 2005 study of ASPM gene variants, Mekel-Bobrov et al. found that the Papuan people have among the highest rate of the newly evolved ASPM haplogroup D, at 59.4% occurrence of the approximately 6,000-year-old allele.[1] While it is not yet known exactly what selective advantage is provided by this gene variant, the haplogroup D allele is thought to be positively selected in populations and to confer some substantial advantage that has caused its frequency to rapidly increase.

According to various studies, Papuan people, other Melanesians, and Aboriginal Australians are the only known modern humans whose prehistoric ancestors interbred with the Denisova hominin, with whom they share 3–5% of their genome.[2][3]

Papuan ethnic groups[edit]

Illustration of 1884.

Indonesia territory[edit]

Papua New Guinea territory[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ongoing Adaptive Evolution of ASPM, a Brain Size Determinant in Homo sapiens", Science, 9 September 2005: Vol. 309. no. 5741, pp. 1720–1722.
  2. ^ Carl Zimmer (22 December 2010). "Denisovans Were Neanderthals' Cousins, DNA Analysis Reveals". Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "About 3% to 5% of the DNA of people from Melanesia (islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean), Australia and New Guinea as well as aboriginal people from the Philippines comes from the Denisovans." Oldest human DNA found in Spain --Elizabeth Landau's interview of Svante Paabo, accessdate=2013-12-10

Further reading[edit]