Study: Aegean farmers replaced hunters of ancient Britain

phys.org | 3/14/2019 | Staff
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A wave of migrants from what is now Greece and Turkey arrived in Britain some 6,000 years ago and virtually replaced the existing hunter-gatherer population, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature.

Scientists examining samples of ancient remains dating as far back as 8500 BC found the dark-skinned foragers who had inhabited the British Isles since the last Ice Age left comparatively little trace in the genetic record after the transition to farming, suggesting there wasn't much interbreeding with the newcomers who arrived around 4000 BC.

Contrast - Aegean - Migrants - Populations - Europe

By contrast, the same Aegean migrants mixed extensively with local populations when they introduced farming to continental Europe about 1,000 years earlier, according to previous DNA studies.

"It is difficult to say why this is, but it may be that those last British hunter-gatherers were relatively few in number," said Mark G. Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London who co-wrote the study. "Even if these two populations had mixed completely, the ability of adept continental farmers and their descendants to maintain larger population sizes would produce a significant diminishing of hunter-gatherer ancestry over time."

Researchers - Britain - United - States - Remains

The researchers from Britain and the United States found that the remains of Britain's early farmers were genetically similar to those discovered in what is now Spain and Portugal, indicating this population traveled east to west through...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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