Presented here are the most recent results of our studies of Rattus exulans, one of the main commensal animals transported across the Pacific by Lapita peoples and their descendants. We sampled several locations in Near Oceania to determine distribution of R. exulans mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes in the region. We also obtained data regarding distribution of other introduced Rattus species to several islands in the Bismarck Archipelago. Our results suggest that there were multiple introductions of R. exulans to the region, which may suggest a more complex history for Lapita populations in Near Oceania.
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Vol. 63 • No. 4