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Science. 2013 Oct 25;342(6157):479-81. doi: 10.1126/science.1245049. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

2000 years of parallel societies in Stone Age Central Europe.

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  • 1Palaeogenetics Group, Institute of Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55099 Mainz, Germany.


Debate on the ancestry of Europeans centers on the interplay between Mesolithic foragers and Neolithic farmers. Foragers are generally believed to have disappeared shortly after the arrival of agriculture. To investigate the relation between foragers and farmers, we examined Mesolithic and Neolithic samples from the Blätterhöhle site. Mesolithic mitochondrial DNA sequences were typical of European foragers, whereas the Neolithic sample included additional lineages that are associated with early farmers. However, isotope analyses separate the Neolithic sample into two groups: one with an agriculturalist diet and one with a forager and freshwater fish diet, the latter carrying mitochondrial DNA sequences typical of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. This indicates that the descendants of Mesolithic people maintained a foraging lifestyle in Central Europe for more than 2000 years after the arrival of farming societies.

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