New research, which evaluated the ancient DNA found in human bones is bringing an interesting new light on the prehistory of Europe. Some of the interesting notes, range from changes in skin color and when lactose tolerance began. While the research caught many off-guard, because it was not an expected outcome of the research in the first place.
The study involved looking at the DNA which was extracted from 13 individuals. The individuals were unearthed during construction in the Great Hungarian Plain, which is located in Central Europe. This region is known for its impact in shaping European prehistory. The various finds at the site span 5,000 years, and it was found that the best location to pull DNA from the body, was through the petrous bone, in ancient specimens like that.
The study found that the DNA recovered is revealing of the fact that there was a “progression towards lighter skin pigmentation.” The study also revealed that there was a major shift in technology, and an adoption of farming. In fact, the study found that there were significant shifts between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
In fact, the study found that it wasn’t until the Bronze Age that animals began being able to consume milk, and become tolerant of lactose. Lactose is the natural sugar in the milk of mammals. The shift and evolution of the human body was what ultimately led to this, and this study found that the shift happened significantly earlier than first predicted, or assumed.
However, it isn’t ironic that right at this time, was the same time that more modern methods of farming were seen in the communities which consumed lactose. In fact, while most of the world was lactose intolerant, it was found that the development happened and was spurred by long term farming.
Scientists are utilizing sequencing to date back 13,000 years from the Caucasus and other parts of Europe. Additionally, this will give scientists an opportunity to truly understand and figure out “who the first farmers were,” which is a serious question in the science community, as it relates to human history.
As the findings were published, many in the science community applauded the efforts which were put forth in this research.