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Ancient Europeans vanished 4,500 years ago


A new study has found that 4,500 years ago the genetic markers of the first pan-European culture was suddenly replaced, suggesting a huge turnover in the population that made up the continent.

The Bell Beaker culture, which emerged from the Iberian Peninsula around 2800 B.C., may have played a role in this genetic turnover. The culture, which may have been responsible for erecting some of the megaliths at Stonehenge, is named for its distinctive bell-shaped ceramics and its rich grave goods. The culture also played a role in the expansion of Celtic languages along the coast.

“We have established that the genetic foundations for modern Europe were only established in the Mid-Neolithic, after this major genetic transition around 4,000 years ago,” study co-author Wolfgang Haak, also of the Australian Center for Ancient DNA, said in a statement. “This genetic diversity was then modified further by a series of incoming and expanding cultures from Iberia and Eastern Europe through the Late Neolithic.”

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Story: Tia Ghose, LiveScience | Photo: Göran Burenhult

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