If youre wondering where Scandinavians got their blonde hair and impressive bone structure from then you can tick hunter-gatherers who inhabited the region at the end of the Ice Age off your list. It seems that an immigrant people from the Eastern Baltic region, who drifted into modern Scandinavia in the Stone Age around the time of the advent of farming are the real genetic ancestors of modern Swedes, Danes and Norwegians and even the Saami people of northern Scandinavia, according to new research straddling the boundaries of genetics and archaeology.
The study, published recently in the journal Current Biology, is the work of groups from Sweden, Denmark and the UK, and is led by Anders Gtherstrm from the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University and Eske Willerslev, of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen.
It involved examining DNA from Stone Age remains to try and determine whether agricultural process were developed by hunter-gatherer communities the so-called Pitted-Ware culture themselves or brought in by new arrivals to the region, who co-existed beside Pitted-Ware people for a millennium until about 2000 BC. The evidence pointed firmly to population replacement by that stage. The hunter-gatherers who inhabited Scandinavia more than 4,000 years ago had a different gene pool than ours, stated Gtherstrm, speaking to ScienceDaily.
Petra Molnar, at the Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory at Stockholm University, concurred. Our findings show that todays Scandinavians are not the direct descendants of the hunter-gatherers who lived in the region during the Stone Age. This entails the conclusion that some form of migration to Scandinavia took place, probably at the onset of the agricultural Stone Age. The extent of this migration is as of yet impossible to determine.
The process by which humans populated the planet is being constantly revised, and this new finding may cause pre-historians to scribble out an extra line on their human migration map.
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