SPAIN: Scientists have released genomic data from a 23,000-year-old person who resided in what was probably the warmest part of Europe at the height of the last Ice Age.
The research reported information from Cueva del Malalmuerzo in southern Spain as well as the 7,000- to 5,000-year-old genomes of early cultivators from other well-known sites, such as Cueva de Ardales in Spain.
Researchers from an international team analysed ancient human DNA from numerous archaeological locations in Andalucia, southern Spain.
The oldest human genome recovered in southern Spain adds a crucial component to the genetic history of Europe, according to the researchers. An organism’s DNA can only be preserved in its original state under optimum climatic conditions and for a short period of time after death.
It is extremely difficult for scholars to extract DNA from ancient remains found in hot, dry environments.
DNA from people who lived 14,000 years ago has been successfully extracted from a cave site in Morocco, despite the fact that the climate in Andalucia, in the south of contemporary Spain, is similar to that of North Africa.
The current research “fills crucial temporal and spatial gaps,” it added.
The researchers can now directly explore the significance of the southern Iberian Peninsula as a haven for Ice Age inhabitants and potential population interactions across the Strait of Gibraltar because sea levels during the last Ice Age were significantly lower than they are today.
People from central and southern Europe who lived between 24,000 and 18,000 years ago—before the Last Glacial Maximum—have different DNA ancestries from those who later colonised Europe.
However, owing to a lack of genomic data from important time periods, the situation in western Europe has not been fully understood until recently.
According to the study, the 23,000-year-old fossil from Cueva del Malalmuerzo near Granada finally adds information from the period when significant portions of Europe were covered in enormous ice sheets.
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