New light shed on prehistoric human migration in Europe

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Gawdzilla Sama
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New light shed on prehistoric human migration in Europe

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:10 pm

New light shed on prehistoric human migration in Europe

Date: February 21, 2018

Source: University of Wyoming

Summary: The first farmers of northern and western Europe passed through southeastern Europe with limited hunter-gatherer genetic admixture, which occurs when two or more previously isolated populations begin interbreeding. However, some groups that remained mixed extensively -- without the male-biased, hunter-gatherer admixture that prevailed later in the North and West.

Two University of Wyoming researchers contributed to a new study in which DNA of ancient skeletal remains of people from southeastern Europe were used to determine migration patterns across Europe during prehistoric times.

Ivor Jankovic, an associate adjunct professor, and Ivor Karavanic, an adjunct professor, both in UW's Department of Anthropology, contributed to the new study that is highlighted in a paper, titled "The Genomic History of Southeastern Europe," published today (Feb. 21) in Nature, an international weekly journal of science.

"The study confirmed that the region of southeastern Europe was a major nexus and a genetic contact zone between the East and West during prehistoric times," says Jankovic, whose full-time job is assistant director of the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, Croatia. "Two major migrations passing through southeastern Europe were confirmed by the means of archaeo-genetic studies."

The first migration was the early Neolithic Period -- 6,000 Before Common Era (BCE) -- when the first farmers, from Anatolia -- Asia Minor -- spread through Europe. The second migration occurred during the early Bronze Age (3,000-2,500 BCE) when the so-called "steppe population," from the Eurasian steppe, replaced much of northern Europe's previous population.

The first farmers of northern and western Europe passed through southeastern Europe with limited hunter-gatherer genetic admixture, which occurs when two or more previously isolated populations begin interbreeding. However, some groups that remained mixed extensively -- without the male-biased, hunter-gatherer admixture that prevailed later in the North and West, according to the paper. Southeastern Europe continued to be a nexus between East and West, with intermittent genetic contact with the Steppe people up to 2,000 years before the migrations that replaced much of northern Europe's population.


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