Genome studying is picking scientists’ interest at an increased pace, revealing crucial information on human migration patterns, behavior and habits, as well as genetic connections.
Since the genome sequencing has become an accessible and highly recurrent tool in anthropological studies as well, ancient human genomes are being analyzed by the hundreds, allowing scientists a unique peek into finding answers to questions that have long troubled the scientific community.
One such outstanding example refers to the Eurasian Bronze Age. Population scale-sequencing allowed to understand that between 3000 B.C. and 1000 B.C. the advent of useful new technologies took place.
Weapons, chariots, burial practices, all contributed to the make shift and growing of humanity in the relatively small geographical space found between the Caspian and the Black Sea.
The more genomes are analyzed, the more DNA sequences are put under highly-performant microscopes, the more clear the past becomes. These modern events are shedding light on how our ancestors shaped the modern world we know today.
Gregor Larson from the University of Oxford and activating in the field of evolutionary genetics commented in amazement:
“Christ, what does this mean? In another five years, we’ll be talking about tens of thousands of ancient genomes.”
The study on this geographical space was championed by Eske Willerslev and Morten Allentoft from Denmark’s Natural History Museum in Copenhagen. Their findings indicated that rather than a simple idea spreading throughout, the technological and cultural advances of the Bronze Age were a result of migration as well.
Central and northern Europe alike suffered a genetic mutation. Before the beginning of the Bronze Age approximately in 3000 B.C., the DNA sequences of remains found in Eurasia resembled Middle East farmers’ or hunter-gatherers that lived on European soil previously.
1000 years into the Bronze Age the genomes of the Eurasian population modified to look more like the genomes of the Yamnaya culture that is thought to have been just on the rise in the steppe in the early Bronze Age.
From this perspective, speculations that it was the Yamnaya migration that brought the Indo-European languages in the regional Western Europe are not far-fetched.
The Danish team found the same Yamnaya genomes as far as the Altai Mountains. This piece of evidence could well stand for the spread of Indo-European languages so deep into Asia.
The Yamnaya genomes offered previously unknown information on both physical, as well as physiological traits of the Yamnaya population in connection to the populations it has influenced.
It is a fascinating field of study and with the increased availability of genome analyzing, it stands to reason that the future holds answers to a number of questions still remaining open.
Image Source: Softpedia