Hawaiian Natural History
The history of the Hawaiian Islands is short geologically. The first major Hawaiian island, Kauai emerged from the Pacific only six million years ago. This is millions of years before modern man walked out of Africa, but a blip in time compared to the 4.5 billion year history of our ancient planet. The Hawaiian Islands were formed above a 40 million year old, volcano creating hot spot under the Pacific Plate. As the pacific plate moves to the Northwest the static hotspot continues to create islands. The effect of this is an island chain, one of which, the big Island became the 5th highest island in the world. The next island in the chain, the seamount of Loihi is building and will surface in 10,000 years. (Of course Hawaiian culture and mythology has a different twist on their origins, see Hawaiian Tiki Gods)
Ancient Hawaiian Double-Hulled Voyaging Canoe
Origins of the Ancient Hawaiians and their Culture
The isolation of the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the wide range of environments to be found on high islands located in and near the tropics, has resulted in a vast array of endemic flora and fauna. Hawaii has more endangered species per square mile than anywhere else. Ancient tribal Polynesians arrived on this virgin scene after long, amazing sea voyages in their double-hulled canoes. The early Polynesians were an adventurous seafaring people with highly developed navigational skills. They used the sun, stars and wave patterns to find their directions. Ancient Polynesians even created incredible maps of wave patterns by binding sticks together. Bird flight paths and cloud patterns were used to discern where islands were located. Entire villages set forth upon ocean going double-hulled canoes to discover unsettled lands.
Maternal mitrochondrial DNA evidence indicates that the ancient Polynesians, including the Hawaiians, are genetically linked to...
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