Ancient DNA reveals origins of Europe’s first civilization

Ancient DNA reveals origins of Europe’s first civilization

17
SHARES

New genetic research has shown that the people of the Minoan civilization, which arose on the island of Crete around 5,000 years ago, were native to Europe rather than migrants from ancient Egypt.



The study, published this week in the journal Nature, compared ancient DNA extracted from 4,000-year-old Minoan skeletons with DNA samples from both modern and ancient populations across Europe and Africa.

The Minoan culture flourished in Bronze Age Crete from about 2,700 BC to 1,400 BC and was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans.  Evans noticed a similarity between Minoan and Egyptian art and believed that the civilization was a result of migration from Egypt or Libya.

To test his hypothesis, the research team analysed the mitochondrial DNA of ancient Minoan skeletons sealed in a cave on Crete’s Lassithi Plateau around 4,000 years ago, and compared them with 135 ancient and modern samples from around Europe and Africa.

They found that the Minoan skeletons were genetically very similar to modern Europeans, especially modern Cretans and today’s inhabitants of the Lassithi Plateau.  They were also genetically similar to Neolithic Europeans.  They were, however, quite distinct from Egyptian and Libyan populations, suggesting that the Minoans enjoyed cultural rather than population exchanges with their North African neighbours.

17
SHARES


Leave a reply

Trending Now:

Popular Posts:

12 buildings in use today that were around when King Richard III was on the throne

12 buildings in use today that were around when King Richard III was on the throne

Here are 12 buildings that remain in use in Britain today which would have been around when Richard III was on the throne. In fact, he himself would have considered many of them to be ancient.

Red hair genes directly inherited from the world’s first Redheads 70,000 years ago

Red hair genes directly inherited from the world’s first Redheads 70,000 years ago

ScotlandsDNA believes that everyone who carries one of 3 variants of the red-hair gene is a direct descendant of the first redhead ever to have it – two variants originating in West Asia around 70,000 years ago, and a younger variant originating in Europe around 30,000 years ago.

Veteran of Boer War, WW1 and WW2 was wounded 9 times, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn’t amputate them

Veteran of Boer War, WW1 and WW2 was wounded 9 times, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn’t amputate them

In a military career spanning 1899-1947, Adrian Carton de Wiart survived being shot in the stomach, groin, head, hand, ankle, hip and leg; as well as 2 plane crashes and 5 escape attempts from a POW camp.

Earth's History in 1 Minute

Earth's History in 1 Minute - 4½ billion years in a 1 minute video

Posted by Abroad in the Yard on Friday, 14 August 2015