Majority of British Men Descend from Near East Neolithic Farmers, Recent Y Chromosome Study Finds

If you’re interested in human population genetics, check out this article about a Y chromosome study of British males which suggests most of them can trace their ancestry back to Neolithic farmers who began migrating in successive waves from the Middle East to Europe about 10,000 years ago (8,000 years BCE), finally arriving in the British Isles around 4,000 years BCE.

Also known as “the Neolithic Revolution,” the transformation of Europeans from hunter-gatherers to farmers is considered one of the great landmarks of Western history.  And its all the more remarkable that this great migration has left its mark upon the genes of modern day humans.

Of course, this new understanding is thanks to revolutionary advances in DNA research which have really only just manifested themselves during the last few decades.  Studies of matrilineal lines traced through mitochondrial DNA, as well as patrilineal y chromosome studies like the one noted above, are literally re-writing human prehistory.  Genetics has thus taken its place alongside archaeology, physical anthropology and linguistics as a key to reconstructing the human past before recorded history.   

If you’re interested in reading more on this new and important role for human population genetics, try some of these titles from Greensboro Public Library:  The Seven Daughters of Eve by Brian Sykes; The Real Eve:  Modern Man’s Journey Out of Africa by Stephen Oppenheimer; Genes, Peoples, and Languages by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza; Relics of Eden:  The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA by Daniel J. Fairbanks; The Real Eve (DVD); The 10,000 Year Explosion:  How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending; Jacob’s Legacy:  A Genetic View of Jewish History by David B. Goldstein; Abraham’s Children:  Race, Identity, and the DNA of “The Chosen People” by Jon Entine; Deep Ancestry:  Inside the Genographic Project by Spencer Wells; and Y:  The Descent of Men by Steve Jones.

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