Scientists have discovered why 14.5 thousand years ago

A new genetic analysis of archaeological finds has shown that some of the early inhabitants of Europe mysteriously disappeared by the end of the last ice age, and were largely replaced by other.

The discovery was confirmed by the analysis of dozens of ancient fossils, collected throughout Europe. Genetic replacement is likely to be the result of rapid climate change, which earlier inhabitants of Europe are unable to adapt quickly enough, says study co-author, Cosimo Post, archaeogenetic doctoral student at the University of tübingen in Germany.

The temperature change at the time was “huge compared to climate change in this century” . — told the Post. “Imagine that the environment has changed quite dramatically”.

Twisted family tree

Europe has a long and complicated genetic heritage. Genetic studies have shown that the first modern humans who came from Africa, somewhere between 40 and 70 thousand years ago, soon began to mate with local Neanderthals. At the beginning of the agricultural revolution, 10-12 thousand years ago, farmers from the Middle East walked across Europe, gradually displacing the local hunter-gatherers.  thousand years ago, nomadic horsemen called Yamna came from the steppes of the present Ukraine and mingled with the local population. In addition, according to the survey for 2013, published in the journal Nature Communications . found another lost group of ancient Europeans mysteriously vanished about 4.5 thousand years ago.

The occupation by man of Europe between its first appearance outside Africa and by the end of the last ice age, about 11 thousand years ago, relatively little was known. In those days, a huge Weichselian ice layer covered a large part of Northern Europe, while glaciers in the Pyrenees and the Alps blocked the passage from East to West across the continent.

In order to obtain a more complete picture of the genetic heritage of Europe during the cold snap, Post and his colleagues analyzed mitochondrial DNA — genetic material transmitted from mother to daughter, from the remains of 55 different human fossils aged between 35 thousand and 7 thousand years, coming from all over the continent, from Spain to Russia. On the basis of mutations or changes in this mitochondrial DNA, geneticists identified a large number of genetic populations or super-haplogroup have a common distant ancestors.

“Basically all modern humans outside Africa, from Europe to the tip of South America, belong to these two super-haplogroups M and N” . says Post. Currently, every European N has a mitochondrial haplotype, whereas the M subtype is distributed throughout Asia and Australia.

Scientists have discovered that the ancient people of the M-haplogroup prevailed to a certain period of about 14.5 thousand years ago, when they suddenly, mysteriously and suddenly disappeared. M-haplotype, carriers of which were the ancient Europeans (now not existing in Europe), had a common ancestor with modern media M-haplotypes of about 50 thousand years ago.

Genetic analysis also showed that Europeans, Asians and Australians can happen from a group of people who came from Africa and quickly spread across the continent no earlier than 55 thousand years ago.

The team suspects that these shocks were caused wild climatic fluctuations.

“At the peak of the ice age, about 19-22 thousand years ago, people sat on their haunches in a climate of “asylum” or ice-free areas of Europe, such as modern Spain, the Balkans and southern Italy” . says Post. While the “deviators” survived in several places further North, their population declined sharply.

“Then about 14.5 thousand years ago, the temperature has undergone significant jump, tundra gave way to forest and many of the iconic animals of the era, such as mammoths and saber-toothed tigers disappeared from the territory of Eurasia.” he said.

For some reason, already small populations belonging to an M-haplogroups are unable to survive these changes in their habitat, as well as new population that carries the N-subtype was replaced by a rejected M-group of the ice age, researchers believe.

“Where these changes have occurred is still a mystery. But there is a possibility that the new generation of Europeans originating from southern European refuges, which were connected to the rest of Europe after the thaw” . — suggested Post. “Immigrants from southern Europe were also better adapted to the warming conditions in Central Europe” .

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