DNA analysed from early European





Scientists have analysed DNA extracted from the remains of a 30,000-year-old European hunter-gatherer.

Studying the DNA of long-dead humans can open up a window into the evolution of our species (Homo sapiens).

But previous studies of this kind have been hampered by scientists' inability to distinguish between the ancient human DNA and modern contamination.

In Current Biology journal, a German-Russian team details how it was possible to overcome this hurdle.

Svante Paabo, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues used the latest DNA sequencing techniques to study genetic information from human remains unearthed in 1954 at Kostenki, Russia.

Excavations at Kostenki, on the banks of the river Don in southern Russia, have yielded large concentrations of archaeological finds from the Palaeolithic (roughly 40,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago). Some of the finds date back as far as 45,000 years.




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