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Paleolithic Population Patterns Picked Up in Ancient DNA Analysis

For a paper appearing in Nature Ecology and Evolution, a team led by investigators at the UCL Institute of Archeology, the Natural History Museum, and the Francis Crick Institute presents population genomic findings for two Paleolithic populations in what is now the UK. "Whilst the genetics of Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age individuals from Britain have recently been explored, no genetic data have yet been generated for British Paleolithic individuals, due in part to the scarcity of human skeletal material available from Late Pleistocene Britain," the researchers write, explaining that their new analysis of ancient DNA from individuals at Gough's Cave in the southwest and Kendrick's Cave, at a more northwesterly site, point to the presence of Paleolithic populations with distinct ancestry patterns. "Finding the two ancestries so close in time in Britain, only a millennium or so apart, is adding to the emerging picture of Palaeolithic Europe, which is one of a changing and dynamic population," Francis Crick Institute Ancient Genomic Laboratory researcher Mateja Hajdinjak, a co-first author on the study, says in a statement.