Your Genes Can Tell if Your Ancestors Were Farmers Or Hunters


DNA analysis has not only transformed the field of medicine, but also solved many unanswered questions from the past. Archeologists make use of genome analysis to identify human ruins which are thousands of years old. From a little trace of DNA, they can tell how old the DNA sample is and what were the traits of the people who used to live there long time ago.

From our old school history lessons, we know that ancient people struggled for their survival either through farming or hunting. But now we can know where these farmers and hunters originated from and where their descendent headed to.

An international team of scientists sequenced the genome of an early Stone Age woman from Ganj Dareh, in the Iranian Zagros Mountains. The site is said to be some 10,000 years old and this population lived in this mountainous range for over 300 years.

Interestingly, the genome of this woman from Western Iran showed resemblance to the genetic makeup of hunter-gatherers from Caucasus, which is the border of Asia and Europe at present. They were genetically different from the new Stone Age Anatolian people who later migrated to Europe and became farmers there.

The population from Ganj Dareh made little genetic contribution to the DNA of modern European population which is a mysterious revelation on its own. While many speculations might arise about this genetically diverse population, it is hypothesized that the farmers from Ganj Dareh remained geographically isolated from rest of the Fertile Crescent, which includes Western Asia, the Nile Valley and Nile Delta.

Did the hunters kill the farmers to take over land or did famine cause their death while they failed to flee to far off areas? We can’t really say anything for sure. Let’s wait till scientists and archeologists find more about the mysterious existence of Ganj Dareh population.

Until then, the study results might predict what our genes might tell us about our ancestors and their occupation in primitive times.

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