Genetic prehistory of Iberia differs from central and northern Europe


In a multidisciplinary study published in PNAS, an international team of researchers combined archaeological, genetic and stable isotope data to encapsulate 4000 years of Iberian biomolecular prehistory.

The team analyzed human remains of 13 individuals from the north and south of Spain, including the rich archaeological site of El Portalón, which forms part of the well-known site of Atapuerca in Burgos and in itself harbors four millennia of Iberian prehistory. The study also involved important sites like Cueva de los Murciélagos in Andalusia, from which the genome of a 7,245 year-old Neolithic farmer was sequenced, making it the oldest sequenced genome in southern Iberia representing the Neolithic Almagra Pottery Culture—the early agriculturalists of southern Spain.

Prehistoric migrations have played an important role in shaping the genetic makeup of European populations. After the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, Europe was inhabited by hunter-gatherer groups and two major migrations during the last 10,000 years had massive impacts on lifestyle and gene pool of European populations. Read more.