Genetics has uncovered the story of the first genocide in Europe

© RIA Novosti / Artem to Greenskeepers in potamocorbula materials found during excavations in the ancient settlement. Archival photoGenetics has uncovered the story of the first genocide in Europe© RIA Novosti / Artem to Greenskeepers the image Bank

. The DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Europe showed that the first tribes of farmers entering the subcontinent from the Middle East, did not mix with local hunter-gatherers, and fully replace them, according to a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

«The so-called Neolithic revolution was one of the most important events in the history of mankind. It has radically changed the environment, increased population density, has created the beginnings of modern civilization and led to the emergence of new forms of society. This process, which lasted for five thousand years, could go two ways – through cultural exchange and direct substitution of the population,» write Victor de Rioja (Rioja Victor de) and his colleagues from the University of Girona (Spain).

Supporters of the first scenario consider that the tribal farmers of the Old world, appeared in the middle East was quite peaceful and do not conflict with hunter-gatherers who inhabited the then Europe. Thanks to this knowledge of the farming art spread mainly through cultural exchange and assimilation.

Other scientists, most of whom are not anthropologists, and geneticists, argue the opposite – the first tribes of farmers completely replaced by those of a group of people, next to which was settled after «moving» to Europe. It is unclear how it happened is a substitution, but the result of it, according to the supporters of this idea, was the fact that today the DNA of the last hunters of Europe are found only among residents of the Baltic States and Scandinavia.

De Rioja and his colleagues found new arguments in favor of this hypothesis, trying to find signs of a crossing of the first farmers and last hunter of the Old world into modern DNA and the long dead inhabitants of the Middle East and Europe.

Their study, the researchers built on a simple and logical assumption is that cultural contact must inevitably lead to mixed marriages, the emergence of children from them respectively — «the middle East» parts of the genome in the DNA of the last hunter Europe. Closer were the contacts, the greater must be the proportion of «wrong» sites in these genomes.

The researchers analyzed dozens of «resurrected» the genomes of ancient Europeans and isolated from these so-called mitochondrial DNA – a small part of the genome, which is stored in the mitochondria, the «power plants» of the cell, and is transmitted from mother to child.

The genomes of ancient farmers and hunters, because of their different origin, contain different versions of mtDNA, called haplogroups, whereby any traces of prolonged contact between them can be find to find «alien» DNA haplogroup in European «natives» or middle Eastern «migrants».

For searches similar scientists elected To a haplogroup, common in the middle East in the past and today, but completely absent from hunter-gatherer who lived in Europe before the beginning of the «Neolithic revolution».

These searches, as noted by de La Rioja and his colleagues did not succeed – traces of haplogroup K was present in large numbers only in the DNA of people who lived on the territory of the Levant and Anatolia at the dawn of the emergence of farmer’s art, and its share is rapidly decreasing with distance from Syria, where the number of carriers at the time was the maximum.

After the beginning of colonization of Europe, the number of carriers of this haplogroup on its territory began to grow, and virtually all of them were farmers, not hunter-gatherers. Overall, according to calculations of scientists, only 2% of middle Eastern migrants to participate in cultural exchange and contacts with hunter-gatherers. This, in turn, suggests that the first farmers of Europe prefer not to share the secrets of his success, and gradually colonized a new territory, displacing or even destroying the tribes of the «natives.»

Such conclusions, as acknowledged by scholars, is likely to trigger skepticism and negative reaction on the part of anthropologists and archaeologists, but they believe that their data and a number of similar genetic studies provide a more complete picture of the settlement of Europe than the rather meager collection of artifacts and monuments of culture from a small number of parts of the subcontinent, talking about the opposite.