Herodotus Returns

DNA Analysis of 30,000-year-old Hunter-Gatherer
January 1, 2010, 10:31 pm
Filed under: DNA, Hunter-Gatherer | Tags: ,

Scientists analyze DNA of 30,000-year-old Hunter-Gatherer in shed light on whether the first humans living in Europe are directly related to modern populations.

The DNA analysed in this study comes from a male aged 20-25 who was deliberately buried in an oval pit some 30,000 years ago.

Known as the Markina Gora skeleton, it was found lying in a crouched position with fists reaching upwards and a face orientated down towards the dirt. The bones were covered in a pigment called red ochre, thought to have been used in prehistoric funeral rites.

The type of DNA extracted and analysed is that stored in mitochondria – the “powerhouses” of cells. This mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is passed down from a mother to her offspring, providing a unique record of maternal inheritance.

Using technology pioneered in the study of DNA from Neanderthal bones, they were able to distinguish between ancient genetic material from the Kostenki male and contamination from modern people who handled the bones, or whose DNA reached the remains by some other means.

Future studies like the one in Current Biology could help shed light on whether the humans living in Europe 30,000 years ago are the direct ancestors of modern populations or whether they were replaced by immigrants who introduced farming to the continent several thousand years ago.

More on the study here.


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[…] DNA analysis of 30,000-year-old hunter-gatherer Leave a Comment No Comments Yet so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Click here to cancel reply. Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> […]

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[…] type of genomic survey will become increasingly prevalent in the field of archaeology. Last month, scientists performed a similar study on a 30,000-year-old hunter-gatherer skeleton. “This provides evidence for a migration from Siberia into the New World some 5,500 years […]

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