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article imageEarly European hunters and farmers lived side-by-side

By Tim Sandle     Oct 15, 2013 in Science
Genetic studies suggest hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the agricultural lifestyle won over. This finding overturns some previous thinking.
The finding that hunter-gathers and farmers lived side-by-side in Europe overturns the conventional view that when farming communities entered Europe, the indigenous hunter-gather population (Mesolithic Europeans) soon died out. Evidence to the contrary suggests that the two populations co-existed, according to The Times of India.
The evidence comes from a study of bones excavated from Blätterhöhle cave near Hagen in Germany, where both hunter-gatherers and farmers were buried. For their study, the team examined the DNA from the bones. The remains indicate that the hunter-gathering lifestyle thus only died out in Central Europe around 5,000 years ago.
The anthropologists carrying out the research have now determined that the foragers stayed in close proximity to farmers, had contact with them for thousands of years, and buried their dead in the same cave. The bone analysis reveals that some of the people ate only wild, foraged food (the hunter-gatherers) whereas others ate domestically reared animals and crops.
The reason that the hunter-gatherers died out, however, appears because the two communities did not interbreed and the agricultural lifestyle was more efficient in terms of creating the most amount of food.
The research comes from the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), which has been published in the journal Science. The study is titled “2000 Years of Parallel Societies in Stone Age Central Europe.”
More about European, huntergatherers, Farmers, ancient humans
 
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