Thursday, May 26, 2016

Europe’s ‘Founding Fathers’

As always we are saying too much on the basis of scant data.  tribes and such were remarkably stable over vast lengths of time and we should not presume massive displacement based on one locale.  It was nothing of the kind.  At best new comers were invited in and then absorbed on the basis of numbers.

It is only when technology leaps to provide a local population advantage that this pattern can change,but even then adoption is the rule.

Every study is tossing up alternative interpretations and they cannot all be right if any of them can be right anyway.  I keep thinking that we are meeting the Basques.


Europe’s ‘Founding Fathers’ – DNA reveals all Europeans are related to a group that lived 35,000 years ago near Belgium

The group of people known as the Founding Fathers of Europe lived in the northwest around 35,000 years ago. Researchers have concluded that they directly contributed to the ancestry of present-day Europeans (artist’s impression pictured)

According to scientists, it is believed that modern humans came to Europe some 45,000 years ago. However, there is limited information about how they spread across the continent before farming was introduced into their lives. Now, a group of scientists has carried out the most detailed DNA test of Upper Paleolithic Europeans to date discovering a major new lineage of early modern humans.

Scientists say that this group of people lived in the northwestern parts of the continent around 35,000 years ago, directly contributing to the ancestry od modern-day Europeans. This group is referred to by researchers as the founding fathers’ of Europe.

The arrival of modern humans some 45,000 years ago ultimately caused the demise of the Neanderthals, even though research has found that some modern humans interbred with the species.

In the last Ice Age, which is believed to have ended some 12,000 years ago, glaciers covered most parts of Europe. As the Ice retreated at the end of the Ice Age, Europe was repopulated.

David Reich and his colleagues from Harvard University wanted to find out more about the repopulation process which is why they analyzed genome-wide data from 51 modern humans who inhabited the region between 45,000 and 7,000 years ago.

According to genetic data, 37,000 years ago, all Europeans can be traced back to a single ‘founding population’ that made it through the last ice age.

Experts concluded that this founding population had deep branches in numerous parts in Europe, one of them, represented by a specimen believed to have inhabited modern-day Belgium. Researchers say that modern-day Europeans can trace their ancestry to this group of people who inhabited the northwestern parts of Europe 35,000 years ago.

According to DNA analysis, the Aurignacian culture was displaced by the Gravettian culture but later re-emerged spreading across Europe.

Furthermore, the so-called founding fathers were part of the Aurignacian culture which was displaced by another group of early humans members of the Gravettian culture which arrived in Europe some 33,000 years ago. Some 19,000 years ago, another population related to the Aurignacian culture re-expanded across Europe. Researchers believe that ultimately, this culture was the one which repopulated Europe after the vast ice sheets retreated from most parts of the continent. Experts conclude that based on ancestry indicators, the population is believed to have expanded from southwestern parts of Europe after the last ice age peaked.

However, researchers found out that 14,000 years ago another event occurred in Europe when people from the southeast spread into Europe, displacing the previous group of humans.

“We see a new population turnover in Europe, and this time, it seems to be from the east, not the west. We see very different genetics spreading across Europe that displaces the people from the southwest who were there before. These people persisted for many thousands of years until the arrival of farming,” said Professor Reich.

In addition to the above, the study also spotted a mixture with Neanderthals, around 45,000 years ago, when modern humans moved across Europe.

‘Neanderthal DNA is slightly toxic to modern humans’, and this study provides evidence that natural selection is removing Neanderthal ancestry,’ Professor Reich added.

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