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Migrants introduced farming in Europe 5,000 years ago: Study

Saturday April 28, 2012 09:44:29 AM, IANS

London: Migrants from the Mediterranean region brought agriculture to northern Europe some 5,000 years ago when its original inhabitants were nomadic hunter-gatherers living off plants and animals, says a new research.

Both groups bred and created the modern northern Europeans, says genetic evidence unearthed by scientists from a quartet of Stone-Age skeletons in Sweden.

Three were hunter-gatherers, buried in flat grave sites. The fourth happened to be a farmer, buried 400 km away beneath one of the megalithic tomb stones tied to agrarian communities. DNA from the bones revealed a stark difference between the hunter-gatherers and the farmer, the journal Science reports.

Analysis of thousands of molecular markers showed that the farmer had genetic fingerprints matching those of present-day populations from southern Europe, according to the Daily Mail.

"The Stone-Age farmer's genetic profile matched that of people currently living in the vicinity of the Mediterranean, on Cyprus, for example," said researcher Pontus Skoglund from the Uppsala University in Sweden.

"The three hunter-gatherers from the same time most resembled Northern Europeans, without exactly matching any particular group," said Skoglund.

"When you put these findings in archaeological context, a picture begins to emerge of Stone-Age farmers migrating from south to north across Europe," Skoglund added.

"And the result of this migration, 5,000 years later, looks like a mixture of these two groups in the modern population," added Skoglund.

The study also showed that although the remains were excavated in Sweden, none shared many similarities with modern Swedes. The hunter-gatherers were genetically most similar to Finns and Orcadians.




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