A study has been published recently in Science Advances which stated that both prehistoric and modern humans that lived in East Asia held a “genetic continuity”. The scientists found that there was no major turnover in the population despite the passing of 7,700 years.
This study was the first that looked at the genome from the ancient populations of East Asia and compared it to the genome of the modern humans in the area. The results showed that the Stone Age humans that inhabited Russia’s Far East had striking genetic similarities to the contemporary humans. This suggests that there occurred no major changes, such as migrations, that altered the genetic material of the population.
This situation is different from what happened in Western Europe, for example. There, the native population was almost outnumbered by the migration of the farmers from Levant and the riders from Central Asia during the Bronze Age. Also, the emerging of metallurgy and agriculture influenced this course of events.
The scientists used as study material the bodies of five ancient hunter-gatherers they had found in a cave near Amur Basin, where the Ulchi people lived. This place is close to the Russian border with North Korea and China. They explained that East Asia’s surface and climate favored the preserving of the Neolithic agriculture. Also, the Ulchi people maintained the occupation of hunter-gatherers for quite a long time.
After taking into consideration the local mix that the populations might have been subjected to, they found that the specimens found in the cave and the Ulchi were almost the same population genetically.
Also, this study supports the theory of dual origin of the Japanese people. This suggests that the people of Japan are descended from an ancient population of agriculturalists that brought the method of rice farming from China to Japan.
This genetic pattern has also been found in Koreans, who share some genetic properties to the Japanese. However, the scientists need more data on the Neolithic populations in China to support this statement.
The more consistent data was extracted from the bodies of two females, one about 50 years old and the other in her twenties. The genetic similarities among the East Asian populations helped the researchers create a bigger picture on how these ancient populations lived and what traits the modern humans inherited from them.
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