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How Europeans evolved white complexion

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Republication from sciencemag.org

By Ann Gibbons

Approximate Yamna (Yamnaya) culture extent c. 3300–2600 BC.

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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Most of us think of Europe as the ancestral home of white people. But a new study shows that pale skin, as well as other traits such as tallness and the ability to digest milk as adults, arrived in most of the continent relatively recently. The work, presented here last week at the 84th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, offers dramatic evidence of recent evolution in Europe and shows that most modern Europeans don’t look much like those of 8000 years ago.

The origins of Europeans have come into sharp focus in the past year as researchers have sequenced the genomes of ancient populations, rather than only a few individuals. By comparing key parts of the DNA across the genomes of 83 ancient individuals from archaeological sites throughout Europe, the international team of researchers reported earlier this year that Europeans today are a mix of the blending of at least three ancient populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers who moved into Europe in separate migrations over the past 8000 years. The study revealed that a massive migration of Yamnaya herders from the steppes north of the Black Sea may have brought Indo-European languages to Europe about 4500 years ago.

 

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Hittite Empire: a prelude map

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A map of the Hittite Empire as a prelude to an upcoming article . In red colour, the core territory of

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Urban and Fortification plan of Merida, Yucatan 1788

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Urban and Fortification plan of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico in 1788 (Instituto de Historia y Cultura Militar, Madrid). Also a location map of Merida in Mexico.

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Βιβλίο: Βρυώνης Σπύρος: Η παρακμή του Μεσαιωνικού Ελληνισμού στη Μικρά Ασία και η διαδικασία του εξισλαμισμού (11ος-15ος αιώνες.), Εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ., επανέκδοση 2008.

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Η απώλεια της Μικράς Ασίας θεωρείται συχνά ως ο αποφασιστικότερος παράγοντας που επέφερε την πτώση της Βυζαντινής Αυτοκρατορίας. Η Μικρά Ασία υπήρξε ο εδαφικός πυρήνας της αυτοκρατορίας κατά τη Μεσοβυζαντινή Εποχή. Ήταν μια πλούσια και πολυάνθρωπη χώρα αρκετών εκατομμυρίων κατοίκων, η κύρια πηγή πόρων, πρώτων υλών, ανθρώπινου δυναμικού, υπαλλήλων και στρατιωτών για το Βυζάντιο. Η απώλεια της υπήρξε, πράγματι, σημαντικότατο αίτιο της κατάρρευσης της αυτοκρατορίας. Ωστόσο, αυτή η κατάρρευση οφειλόταν σε απώτερες και ευρύτερες πολιτικές, κοινωνικές, οικονομικές, στρατιωτικές, θρησκευτικές, εθνολογικές κ.α. αρνητικές παραμέτρους που επέφεραν καταρχήν την πτώση της βυζαντινής Μικράς Ασίας και έπειτα των υπολοίπων αυτοκρατορικών εδαφών και τελικά της ίδιας της πρωτεύουσας.

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Chang-an, capital of the Chinese Sui ang T’ang Dynasties

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A city plan of Chang-an, capital of the Chinese Sui ang T’ang Dynasties. Also a map of the

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Early farmers from across Europe directly originated from Neolithic Aegeans

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Republication from  pnas.org

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Significance

One of the most enduring and widely debated questions in prehistoric archaeology concerns the origins of Europe’s earliest farmers: Were they the descendants of local hunter-gatherers, or did they migrate from southwestern Asia, where farming began? We recover genome-wide DNA sequences from early farmers on both the European and Asian sides of the Aegean to reveal an unbroken chain of ancestry leading from central and southwestern Europe back to Greece and northwestern Anatolia. Our study provides the coup de grâce to the notion that farming spread into and across Europe via the dissemination of ideas but without, or with only a limited, migration of people.

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