The developments in the possible finding the Higgs Boson may have taken over the science headlines this week, and rightfully so, but archaeologists and geneticists in Europe are deep into their own landmark discovery that has recently been uncovered.
Recently, an article published in Current Biology showed that two sets of bones discovered in 2006, in a Spanish cave, contain the oldest human DNA. At an age of 7,000 years old, this finding beats out Otzi, the famous 5,300 year-old mummified “Ice Man” that was discovered in the Italian Alps in 1991.
The human genomes that were recovered from the two skeletal remains revealed several points of archaeological interest. For one, the DNA showed that the two individuals do not share a common ancestry with the people who live on the Iberian Peninsula today.
The scientists behind the research says that this potentially debunks claims made by many that that the Basque people, an ethnic group that resides in Spain and France, are descendants of Mesolithic people who simply became polarized in the Basque country. Though the remains are of Mesolithic people, they do not share a common modern lineage with Basques.
Though this discovery is large, scientists still have much more work to do. They want to try to complete the entire genome of both remains, being that that only have a small percentage of both (.5% and 1.34%). Luckily, the remains were found in the cold region of the Cantabrian mountains, and as we have learned from Otzi, cold weather means good preservation. The Spanish discovery may not have yielded mummies like that of Otzi, but the DNA is still well-preserved and allows the possibility of further genetic discovery.
Author Bio – Mike is a contributor to several tech, science and music-focused blogs and websites, including ZME, Blogger News Network, DX 3 as well as others.