Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ABOUT US
Baltic hunter-gatherers began farming without influence of migration
by Staff Writers
Dublin, Ireland (SPX) Feb 03, 2017


Advances in ancient DNA work have revealed that this 'package' was spread through Central and Western Europe by migration and interbreeding: the Levant and later Anatolian farmers mixing with and essentially replacing the hunter-gatherers. But the new work suggests migration was not a 'universal driver' across Europe for this way of life. In the Baltic region, archaeology shows that the technologies of the 'package' did develop - albeit less rapidly - even though the analyses show that the genetics of these populations remained the same as those of the hunter-gatherers throughout the Neolithic.

New research indicates that Baltic hunter-gatherers were not swamped by migrations of early agriculturalists from the Middle East, as was the case for the rest of central and western Europe. Instead, these people probably acquired knowledge of farming and ceramics by sharing cultures and ideas - rather than genes - with outside communities.

Scientists extracted ancient DNA from a number of archaeological remains discovered in Latvia and the Ukraine, which were between 5,000 and 8,000 years old. These samples spanned the Neolithic period, which was the dawn of agriculture in Europe, when people moved from a mobile hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled way of life based on food production.

We know through previous research that large numbers of early farmers from the Levant (the Near East) - driven by the success of their technological innovations such as crops and pottery - had expanded to the peripheral parts of Europe by the end of the Neolithic and largely replaced hunter-gatherer populations.

However, the new study, published in the journal Current Biology, shows that the Levantine farmers did not contribute to hunter-gatherers in the Baltic as they did in Central and Western Europe.

The research team, which includes scientists from Trinity College Dublin, the University of Cambridge, and University College Dublin, says their findings instead suggest that the Baltic hunter-gatherers learned these skills through communication and cultural exchange with outsiders.

The findings feed into debates around the 'Neolithic package,' - the cluster of technologies such as domesticated livestock, cultivated cereals and ceramics, which revolutionised human existence across Europe during the late Stone Age.

Advances in ancient DNA work have revealed that this 'package' was spread through Central and Western Europe by migration and interbreeding: the Levant and later Anatolian farmers mixing with and essentially replacing the hunter-gatherers.

But the new work suggests migration was not a 'universal driver' across Europe for this way of life. In the Baltic region, archaeology shows that the technologies of the 'package' did develop - albeit less rapidly - even though the analyses show that the genetics of these populations remained the same as those of the hunter-gatherers throughout the Neolithic.

Andrea Manica, one of the study's senior authors from the University of Cambridge, said: "Almost all ancient DNA research up to now has suggested that technologies such as agriculture spread through people migrating and settling in new areas."

"However, in the Baltic, we find a very different picture, as there are no genetic traces of the farmers from the Levant and Anatolia who transmitted agriculture across the rest of Europe."

"The findings suggest that indigenous hunter-gatherers adopted Neolithic ways of life through trade and contact, rather than being settled by external communities. Migrations are not the only model for technology acquisition in European prehistory."

While the sequenced genomes showed no trace of the Levant farmer influence, one of the Latvian samples did reveal genetic influence from a different external source - one that the scientists say could be a migration from the Pontic Steppe in the east. The timing (5-7,000 years ago) fits with previous research estimating the earliest Slavic languages.

Researcher Eppie Jones, from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Cambridge, was the lead author of the study. She said: "There are two major theories on the spread of Indo-European languages, the most widely spoken language family in the world. One is that they came from the Anatolia with the agriculturalists; another that they developed in the Steppes and spread at the start of the Bronze Age."

"That we see no farmer-related genetic input, yet we do find this Steppe-related component, suggests that at least the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family originated in the Steppe grasslands of the East, which would bring later migrations of Bronze Age horse riders."

The researchers point out that the time scales seen in Baltic archaeology are also very distinct to the rest of Europe, with a much more drawn-out and piecemeal uptake of Neolithic technologies, rather than the complete 'package' that arrives with migrations to take most of Europe by storm.

Andrea Manica added: "Our evidence of genetic continuity in the Baltic, coupled with the archaeological record showing a prolonged adoption of Neolithic technologies, would suggest the existence of trade networks with farming communities largely independent of interbreeding."

"It seems the hunter-gatherers of the Baltic likely acquired bits of the Neolithic package slowly over time through a 'cultural diffusion' of communication and trade, as there is no sign of the migratory wave that brought farming to the rest of Europe during this time.

"The Baltic hunter-gatherer genome remains remarkably untouched until the great migrations of the Bronze Age sweep in from the East."

About the study
The researchers analysed eight ancient genomes - six from Latvia and two from Ukraine - that spanned a timeframe of three and a half thousand years (between 8,300 and 4,800 years ago). This enabled them to start plotting the genetic history of Baltic inhabitants during the Neolithic.

DNA was extracted from the petrous area of skulls that had been recovered by archaeologists from some of the region's richest Stone Age cemeteries. The petrous, at the base of the skull, is one of the densest bones in the body, and a prime location for DNA that has suffered the least contamination over millennia.

Research paper


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Trinity College Dublin
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
ABOUT US
Study finds genetic continuity between modern East Asia people and their Stone Age relatives
Cambridge, England (UPI) Feb 1, 2017
Scientists have discovered high "genetic continuity" between modern East Asia populations and their Stone Age ancestors. The findings serve as a stark contrast to the analysis of genomes in Western Europe, where a constant influx of new genes brought by mass migrations has convoluted the region's genetic history. The latest revelation was made possible by the successful extractio ... read more


ABOUT US
Facebook adds tool for helping in times of crisis

Afghans dig with 'any tools possible' for avalanche survivors

Six cosmic catastrophes that could wipe out life on Earth

Radiation level in Fukushima plant at record high

ABOUT US
New material that contracts when heated holds great industrial potential

Flipping the switch on ammonia production

Understanding breakups

Aavid Thermacore Europe's technology will keep solar satellite cool

ABOUT US
Scientists find huge ancient landslide on Great Barrier Reef

Size matters for marine protected areas designed to aid coral

Great Barrier Reef building coral under threat from poisonous seaweed

Threat of poisonous algae growing on Great Barrier Reef

ABOUT US
Study shows planet's atmospheric oxygen rose through glaciers

Coal mine dust lowers spectral reflectance of Arctic snow by up to 84 percent

Scientists unravel the process of meltwater in ocean depths

The making of Antarctica

ABOUT US
Syngenta says profits down as ChemChina takeover looms

Miracle crop: Can quinoa help feed the world?

Students brew beer using 5,000-year-old recipe from China

Persistent tropical foraging in the New Guinea highlands

ABOUT US
Prediction of large earthquakes probability improved

Can underwater sonar canons stop a tsunami in its tracks?

Researcher proposes novel mechanism to stop tsunamis in their tracks

The secret of the supervolcano

ABOUT US
Ivory Coast govt in bid to end elite troops' mutiny

Somalia to elect president amid security, drought woes

Elite I.Coast troops fire protest shots at two bases

A struggle for land and survival in Kenya's restive highlands

ABOUT US
Baltic hunter-gatherers began farming without influence of migration

Brain-computer interface allows completely locked-in people to communicate

Study finds genetic continuity between modern East Asia people and their Stone Age relatives

Girls less likely to associate 'brilliance' with their own gender




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement