Aegean farmers replaced hunters of ancient Britain

Aegean farmers replaced hunters of ancient Britain

Scientists say a wave of migrants from what is now Greece and Turkey arrived in Britain some 6,000 years ago and virtually replaced the existing hunter-gatherer population.

A study published on Monday in the journal Nature argues that genetic samples of ancient remains show there was little interbreeding between the newcomers and the darker-skinned foragers who had inhabited the British Isles for millennia.

By contrast, Aegean migrants who introduced farming to continental Europe mixed extensively with the local population, according to earlier DNA studies.

Mark Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London who co-wrote the study, says one explanation “may be that those last British hunter-gatherers were relatively few in number” and therefore left little trace in the genetic record. [AP]

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