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 notice is a people history that is no less complex than that in the last 7,000 years, with various events of population substitution and entrance on a huge and tense scale, at a time when the climate was shifting dramatically”. Reich told that early Europeans held more Neanderthal ancestry than present-day people.