Genetic evidence for hunter-gatherers’ experimental farming

Latest research shows that late Stone Age hunter-gatherer communities spent time working out the basics of farming on the fertile lands of what is now Turkey before taking this knowledge migrating to Europe as gene material gathered among burials of early European settlers and early farmers in Central Turkey shows resemblance.  Researchers from Stockholm University and Uppsala University in Sweden and Middle East Technical University in Turkey compared genetic information from Europeans living during the Neolithic period with that from nine individuals excavated from two ancient settlements in Anatolia of the Boncuklu community, who lived between 10300 and 9500 years ago. The Boncuklu people were a group of foragers who had recently adopted small-scale agriculture. The other five samples (dating back 9500 to 7800 years ago) came from Tepecik-Çiftlik villagers, who had more sophisticated farming practices.

Tools from the Tepecik-Ciftlik (by Popular Archaeology)
Tools from the Tepecik-Ciftlik (by Popular Archaeology)

The Boncuklu culture people were proto-farmers they did not have domestic animals, and gathering was also important for the village. At sites like Tepecik-Ciftlik and Catlhoyuk the archaeologists find that gathering and especially hunting are important for the culture. The Neolithic way of life took a long time to be fully established. With increasing fecundity and higher levels of mobility and gene flow  over time Neolithic Near Eastern villages became more cosmopolitan, and this eventually triggered expansion into Europe.

This is the first study to examine the genetic properties of the human remains. This type of analysis would have been impossible until just recently due to the degradation of the DNA, which was drawn from inside the bones of the deceased.

(after Popular Archaeology)

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