This concluding chapter summarizes the major findings of the book and discusses the remaining contradictions, the problems of interpretation, and the road forward. The pervasive diversity of populations in this relatively small region has been caused by their semi-isolation over an extremely long time period, extending back tens of thousands of years. The diversity has an underlying pattern, with more distinctive populations in rugged large island interiors, primarily Papuan-speaking groups. This presents a striking contrast to the comparative homogeneity of most human groups, and offers an alternative model for prehistoric human population variation.
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