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High Eurasian Migration Into Ancient Africa Equals Intertwined DNA

First Posted: Oct 13, 2015 06:16 AM EDT

A recent study of a male skeleton found in an Ethiopian cave revealed that current African populations harbor significantly more Eurasian ancestry than previously thought, according to a news release.

The researchers who discovered the skeleton were able to fully examine the genome of ancient African ancestry. The genome is an organism's complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. The findings from the study could change the interpretation of human history, according to the researchers.

The age of the skeleton enabled the researchers to determine its genes, which were similar to the Eurasia gene flow, which made its way onto the African continent.

Ancient African DNA samples are essential for reconstructing the evolutionary history of modern day humans since they provide a baseline that defines other events, according to the news release. The new set of DNA derived from the skeleton revealed that the man lived in the southern Ethiopian highlands about 4,500 years ago. The new set of genome will now enable scientists to have better insights into human history, according to the researchers.

The genetic revelations from the skeleton linked Eurasian genetics from 3,000 years ago to the same genetic source from the Neolithic expansion into Europe from the Near East. The found that the farmers who brought agriculture into Europe may have also contributed to the food production in the Horn of Africa.

The researchers found about 4 to 7 percent of African genomes traced back to Eurasian source, and Eurasian genomes reached over to Central, West and Southern Africa, which affected population that were not known for having genetic mixture. According to the researchers, the new findings are providing a better understanding of the evolutionary history of modern humans.

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