Feeds

Brit men descend from mammoth hunters, not farmers

'Of course it mammoth, woman. Ate rest on way back'

Top three mobile application threats

Today's British man could be descended from exciting, live-life-on-the-edge hunter-gatherers rather than migrating farmers as previously thought, according to a new gene study.

Britons' slightly sexier past comes courtesy of scientists from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh, who examined the set of genes called R-M269, which is present in more than 100 million European men.

Looking at how this set spread across Europe is key to understanding how the continent was populated and where the dispersal points were. A previous study had found the set spreading from east to west, which, coupled with other indicators, led to the conclusion that British men had likely descended from farmers migrating from around modern-day Turkey.

The Oxford/Edinburgh study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, did not find this pattern in its larger dataset.

"Our work overturns the recent claims of European Y chromosomes being brought into the continent by farmers," Dr Cristian Capelli, the Oxford geneticist who led the research, said.

If the farmers didn't bring the genes with them when they arrived, then modern Brits are likely the children of the hunting and gathering humans who survived the Ice Age by moving south on the continent and later returned to northern Europe around 40,000 years ago. Which, depending on your viewpoint, is a somewhat, um, cooler past.

However, the debate is likely to continue as dating ancestry through genetics is a tough task, according to Dr Jim Wilson of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences, who co-authored the study.

"Estimating a date at which an ancestral lineage originated is an interesting application of genetics, but unfortunately it is beset with difficulties and it is very difficult to provide good dates. Many people assume that the more genes the more accurate the dates, but this is not the case: some genetic markers are more suited to dating than others," he said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.