The first evidence of ancient farming was found in the southwestern Asia. More than 12,000 years ago, the farmers located in the Fertile Crescent transmitted the new skill to hunter-gatherers living in other regions across Europe.
The present study challenges the idea that farming was spread through Europe by the means of cultural exchange.
Scientists tried to find out how farming extended to other regions. It was possible that first farmers migrated to other areas and kept their lifestyle. On the other hand, the hunter-gatherers might have learned how to plant on themselves.
The study used DNA analysis to map the routes of ancient migrations, in the hopes that they will reveal the secret of how agriculture began in Europe.
The results of the paleontological study showed that the migration theory was the primary factor in ancient farming spread across the continent.
Scientists believe that 8,000 years ago the Aegean Sea people started to move into the south of Europe and brought the farming skills with them.
At that time, Europe was habited by people who only used hunting and gathering foods from the wild in order to sustain themselves.
The migration from Asia into Europe later ended with further mass movements into the southern parts of the continent, such as Greece and Anatolia.
Palaeogeneticists compared genetic samples from Greece and Turkey with those from other regions of Europe and discovered that they all have the same typology. This evidence was enough to sustain the idea of the same group of farmers moving across the continent.
Another interesting fact discovered by researchers was that farmers from Spain and those from central Europe were more closely related to the original Asian population than to each other.
This new proof suggests that there were two migration routes from Asia into Europe. One group of Asian farmers went to the north and center of the continent, and a second group went along the coast of the Mediterranean sea and towards Spain.
Based on the gene analysis, the scientists also managed to draw portraits of the populations.
The Aegean population seems to resemble Oetzi the Iceman, a mummy that was found perfectly preserved frozen in a glacier. They had fair skin and dark eyes and lacked the necessary genes to digest milk after childhood.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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