Discoveries made through the study of ancient DNA. Photo


Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. ФотоUnexpected findings scientists.

DNA is present in every living being, including humans. It carries the genetic information of every person, passing its traits on to future generations. It also allows you to trace the origin of humans up to their earliest ancestors. Analyzing DNA of ancient humans and their ancestors, as well as comparing it with the DNA of modern humans, it is possible to detect more accurate information about the origin of mankind. Here are some of interesting facts that scientists have learned through the study of ancient DNA.

1. Humans descended from one man and women

According to the Bible, everyone is a descendant of Adam and eve, the first people that have ever lived on Earth. Science partly supports this theory, although with some interesting differences. First, the “scientific version” of Adam and eve were not the first people. Secondly, modern humans – not their direct children. Instead, every man is descended from men, and every woman came from the woman.

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

Scientists call the man “Adam with the Y-chromosome”, and the woman – “mitochondrial eve.” Adam Y chromosome lived in Africa sometime between 125 000 and 156 000 years ago. Mitochondrial eve lived in East Africa somewhere between 99 000 and 148 000 years ago. Unlike the biblical Adam and eve, it is unlikely that the two ever met, although they might live at one time. Scientists came to the conclusion that Adam’s Y chromosome was the ancestor of all men after the sequencing of the Y chromosome for 69 men from seven different ethnic groups. For the Mitochondrial eve they tested the mitochondrial DNA of 69 men and 24 other women.

2. The crossing of various kinds of ancient people

In 2012, archaeologists discovered a curious piece of bone in Denisova cave in Siberia. The bone was part of the Shin or thigh of an ancient man, whom they called “Denisova 11”. DNA tests subsequently showed that the “Denisova 11” was a woman who lived about 50,000 years ago, and she was more than 13 years old when she died. She was also a hybrid of two species of early humans: Neanderthal man and the Denisovsky person (her father was Denisovskoe man, and her mother was a Neanderthal).

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

Interestingly, the father of the “Denisova 11” was also a descendant of Neanderthal-Denisovskaya hybrid. However, unlike his daughter, who was a direct descendant, its hybrid ancestor lived 300 to 600 generations before him. Scientists know that the branches Denisovskaya humans and Neanderthals diverged 390000 years ago. However, until this discovery, they never knew that they were crossed. DNA tests also showed that the Neanderthal mother “Denisova 11” was more closely related to Neanderthals of Western Europe than with the Neanderthals who lived in the Denisova cave at an earlier stage of prehistory.

3. The Tibetans are the offspring of Denisovskoe people

Continuing the discussion about hybridization… DNA Tests proved that the Tibetans are descendants of the Denisovsky people. Of course, this does not mean that the Tibetans are the denisovans, they’re Homo sapiens, just one of their ancestors Homo sapiens “sinned” Denisovsky man. Scientists discovered this by comparing the genome, extracted from “Denisova 11”, with 40 genomes of Tibetans. They found that the Tibetan EPAS1 gene was similar to that of gene EPAS1 “Denisova 11”. The EPAS1 gene is in all people and he is responsible for managing the body’s natural response in an environment with low oxygen content (production of more hemoglobin to transport oxygen to the tissues, when the not enough oxygen).

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

Although it ensures the survival, the gene also puts people at risk of heart problems. However, the Tibetans mutated gene EPAS1 – their bodies produce more hemoglobin, if there is not enough oxygen. That is why they can live at high altitudes, where oxygen is not enough.Scientists suspect that the ancestors of the Tibetans got that gene, when one of them were to mate with Denisovskoe man about 30 000 – 40 000 years ago. However, scientists have not confirmed, allow a mutated gene EPAS1 also Denisovskoe people to live at a higher altitude, as is the case with Tibetans.

4. The first Britons were black

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

In 1903 scientists discovered 10 000 year old remains of a British man in a cave in Cheddar gorge, Somerset. DNA analysis conducted in 2018, showed that this man was either dark brown or black skin, curly black hair and blue eyes.Given that this is the oldest complete human skeleton ever found in Britain, this means that the earliest Britons were black. Interestingly, in the 1990-ies Professor Brian Sykes from Oxford University tested 20 people in the village of Cheddar and compared their DNA with the genes of “Cheddar man.” He found that two people living in the village, were descendants of the “Cheddar man.”

5. King of England Richard III was a hunchback

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

In 2012, archaeologists from the University of Leicester began digging a Parking lot in Leicester. Earlier this place was a Church of the Franciscans, which was allegedly buried king Richard III. They found there the remains of the monarch, allowing Richard III famously was the king, whose remains were found under a car Park. Scientists have confirmed that the skeleton did belong to king when they tested his DNA with the DNA of a living relative. The skull also bore traces of wounds which are consistent with historical records (king Richard III died from head injuries during the battle with Basware). Also found an interesting fact – the king’s spine was curved. This meant that the king was indeed a hunchback.

6. The parents of Tutankhamun were brother and sister

Tutankhamun remains one of the most famous pharaohs, who ruled Egypt. He began to reign when he was only ten years old, and died around 1324 BC, when he was only 19 years old. Archaeologists excavated his tomb in 1922. Surprisingly, they found it intact – “set” with precious stones and gold ornaments. Physical analysis of the remains of Tutankhamun have revealed that the Pharaoh clearly did not enjoy his short life.

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His left leg was deformed, forcing him to walk with a cane. In fact, in the tomb of a Pharaoh was found 130 canes. Further analysis of the DNA showed that his deformed leg was a result of inbreeding. Tutankhamun also suffered from malaria, which is not allowed to heal deformed leg. DNA analysis showed that the father of Tutankhamun was Akhenaten, son of Amenhotep III (grandfather of Tutankhamen) and his mother was the daughter of Amenhotep III. Ie the father and mother of the Pharaoh they were brother and sister. Some historians believe that his mother was Queen Nefertiti, although this theory is disputed because it was not associated with Akhenaten.

7. The Clovis people were not the first in America

The Clovis culture, believed to have been the first settlers in America. These people have reached North America 13,000 years ago, moved to South America 11,000 years ago and disappeared 9,000 years ago. However, in 2018, the DNA tests of the remains of ancient people have shown that culture Clovis were not the first people who settled in America. Although the DNA of ancient humans found in North America, proves that the Clovis lived in North America 12,800 years ago, in South America it’s different.

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

DNA tests conducted on the remains of 49 ancient South American people, show that people of the Clovis first appeared in South America 11,000 years ago. Interestingly, archaeologists have evidence that some unidentified culture lived in Monte Verde, Chile 14,500 years ago. It is believed that 12 800-year-old human remains previously found in South America, belonged to this tribe because they did not match DNA from the Clovis people.

8. Columbus was not infected with tuberculosis America

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

It is often said that journey of Christopher Columbus called in America the epidemic of several deadly diseases, including tuberculosis, in the late fifteenth century. These diseases led to the fact that they killed 90 percent of the population of native Americans. However, DNA tests say otherwise. Seals brought tuberculosis to America long before the arrival of Columbus. Scientists made this discovery when he analyzed three sets of human remains from Peru. It is believed that people died 1000 years ago, 500 years before Columbus’s arrival.

DNA tests showed that the strain of TB they had, closest to the strain detected in infected seals and sea lions. Europe, Asia and Africa was experiencing a deadly epidemic of tuberculosis at the time of death of Peruvians. Scientists suspect that harbour seals and sea lions somehow got infected during one of the epidemics in Africa and unwittingly brought the disease to America when they migrated to its shores. The Peruvian natives had contracted a mutated strain of tuberculosis, when hunted seals and sea lions in search of food. Of course, this does not mean that Columbus and his men were completely innocent. As far as we know, they really brought lethal European kind of tuberculosis in America.

9. The descendants of the Vikings are at risk of emphysema

In 2016, the researchers, led by the Liverpool school of tropical medicine, showed that the descendants of the Vikings have a higher risk of developing serious lung disease called emphysema (they usually suffer smokers). Analysis of the toilets of the Viking age in Denmark showed that the Vikings suffered from worms parasites so that their gene-inhibitor alpha-1-antitrypsin (А1АТ) mutated to fight the enzymes secreted by the worms.

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The human body naturally produces inhibitors (including A1AT), which do not allow the powerful enzymes secreted in it, to digest the internal organs. However, for the Vikings and their descendants increased the ability of the inhibitor А1АТ to cope with the enzymes secreted by the worms also reduced its ability to interfere with the enzymes secreted in their body to digest the internal organs. Today the mutated inhibitor А1АТ useless because there are medicines to combat worms. But DNA tests show that descendants of the Vikings still have the mutated inhibitor. This means that the descendants of the Vikings, the body is not able to cope with their own enzymes, which leads to lung disease.

10. Malaria contributed to the fall of Ancient Rome

Researchers have always suspected that malaria contributed to the fall of ancient Rome. However, only recently they have confirmed that the malaria epidemic was really impressed by ancient Rome and contributed to his death. Scientists made this discovery in 2011, when he examined the remains of 47 babies and toddlers, excavated at the ancient Roman Villa in Lugnano, Italy.

Открытия, сделанные благодаря изучению древней ДНК. Фото

The oldest of the “children of Lugnano,” as they were called, was only three years old. All died and were buried approximately at the same time, and more than half died even before they were born. They were victims of one of a series of malaria epidemics that ravaged ancient Rome. The most affected is the army, which are unable to gather enough soldiers to repel the attacks of foreign invaders.


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