DNA analysis unveils interesting details about early Ice Age Europeans

A report published in New Scientist revealed, "Archaeologists tend to think these sort of cultural shifts reflect the spread of new ideas through an unchanging population. But a new analysis of nuclear DNA taken from 51 ancient Eurasians tells a different story. They actually reflected the spread of different peoples."  The Aurignacian culture was dominant between about 45,000 and 35,000 years ago. This culture produced fine bone and stone tools, and some of Europe's oldest and most beautiful art - for inst

A new research paper titled ‘The genetic history of Ice Age Europe’ published in Nature Journal opened up on unknown facts about early Ice Age Europeans. Assessment of 51 samples of DNA from ancient remains has unveiled about the history of mass migrations spanning thousands of years.

Researchers mentioned that the genes of Ice Age Europeans unveiled about dark complexions and brown eyes. The analysis has also unveiled blues eyes appeared 14,000 years ago and pale skin spread across the continent some 7,000 years back.

Different groups of Europeans came from a single founder population between 37,000 years ago and 14,000 years ago. At that time, Neanderthal ancestry in Europeans was in decline. As per the researchers, modern-day Europeans’ founding population was known as Aurignacian culture.

The group of humans in the culture lived in northwest Europe 35,000 years back. But this group was displaced when another group of early humans, Gravettian culture, migrated to Europe 33,000 years ago.

But around 19,000 years back when the Ice Age peaked, people linked to Aurignacians re-migrated and were widespread in Europe from the southwest. Then around 14,000 years back, another massive migration took place.

It was the time when ice sheets had already melted and populations from the southeast migrated to Europe and again displaced Aurignacian culture.

Study’s co-researcher David Reich, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, said, ““[W]hat we see is a population history that is no less complicated than that in the last 7,000 years, with multiple episodes of population replacement and immigration on a vast and dramatic scale, at a time when the climate was changing dramatically”. Reich said that early Europeans possessed more Neanderthal ancestry than present day people.

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