Belgian fossil belongs to one of our first European ancestors
Tuesday, 03 May 2016
An ancient humerus aged 35,000 years found in the Grottes de Goyet (the Goyet caves) in Namur, kept in the collections of the l’Institut royal des sciences naturelles de Belgique (Belgian Royal National Institute for Natural Sciences), belongs to one of the current European’s race’s first ancestors. So proves a DNA study on tens of fossils from the glacial period, indicated the Institut on Monday. The study was published in the journal Nature.
An international scientific team analysed the DNA of 51 individuals who have been carbon-dated as between 7,000 and 45,000 years old. “It is the most significant genetic reconstruction ever realised upon modern man in Europe, before the introduction of agriculture 8,500 years ago”, the lnstitut made no bones about stressing. Patrick Semal, the Belgian palaeoanthropologist, took part in the study.
It emerges from the analyses that all of the first human groups who came to Europe from Africa 45,000 years ago, nurtured an evolutionary rut. Modern Europeans no longer have any genetic characteristics of this group. “However, going back to 37,000 years, all of the individuals examined well and truly had a hand in the current European genetic make-up,” stress the experts. The humerus coming from the Grottes de Goyet, is that of a man, who is is consequently the oldest European ancestor ever traced up to now.
Furthermore, the study reveals that it appears a genetic variant now present in the Middle-Eastern population appeared some 14,000 years in large swathes of Europe. The scientists assume that these populations were attracted by Europe owing to glacial ice melt and warmer temperatures.
Five fossils from the Goyet caves were analysed as part of this study. It mainly revolved around three humeri and three fibulae, dating back to between 15,000 to 35,000 years ago.