Human beings were as genetically diverse 2000 years ago as they are today

June 10th, 2008 - 12:42 pm ICT by ANI  

Copenhagen, June 10 (ANI): By studying human remains found in two ancient Danish burial grounds, forensic scientists have found that the Scandinavian race is not pure, which suggests that human beings were as genetically diverse 2000 years ago as they are today.

The forensic scientists, from the University of Copenhagen, studied human remains found in two ancient Danish burial grounds dating back to the Iron Age, and discovered a man who appears to be of Arabian origin.

The findings suggest that human beings were as genetically diverse 2000 years ago as they are today and indicate greater mobility among Iron Age populations than was previously thought.

The findings also suggest that people in the Danish Iron Age did not live and die in small, isolated villages but, on the contrary, were in constant contact with the wider world.

For the research, scientist Linea Melchior and forensic scientists from the University of Copenhagen analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of 18 individuals buried on the sites and found that there was as much genetic variation in their remains as one would expect to find in individuals of the present day.

The research team also found DNA from a man, whose genetic characteristics indicate a man of Arabian origin.

Based on the research, archeologists and anthropologists are know aware that the concept of a single Scandinavian genetic type, a Scandinavian race that wandered to Denmark, settled there, and otherwise lived in complete isolation from the rest of the world, is a fallacy.

If you look at the geographic position of Denmark, then it becomes clear that the Danes must have been in contact with other peoples, said Linea Melchior.

We know from other archeological excavations that there was a good deal of trade and exchange of goods between Denmark and other parts of Scandinavia and Europe, he added.

These lines of communication must have extended further south as one of the Danish burial grounds, which dates back to the Iron Age also contained the remains of a man, who appears to have been of Arabian origin.

At the beginning of the Danish iron age, the roman legions were based as far north as the river Elbe (on the border of northern Germany) and it is thought that the man of Arabian descent found in the burial grounds in Southern Zealand would have either been a slave or a soldier in the roman army.

The discovery of the Arab man indicates that people from distant parts of the world could be and were absorbed in Danish communities. (ANI)

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