First ancient DNA from mainland Finland reveals origins of Siberian ancestry in region

Popular Archeology | 11/27/2018 | Staff
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MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN HISTORY—Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Helsinki have analyzed the first ancient DNA from mainland Finland. As described in Nature Communications, ancient DNA was extracted from bones and teeth from a 3,500 year-old burial on the Kola Peninsula, Russia, and a 1,500 year-old water burial in Finland. The results reveal the possible path along which ancient people from Siberia spread to Finland and Northwestern Russia.

Researchers found the earliest evidence of Siberian ancestry in Fennoscandia in a population inhabiting the Kola Peninsula, in Northwestern Russia, dating to around 4,000 years ago. This genetic ancestry then later spread to populations living in Finland. The study also found that people genetically similar to present-day Saami people inhabited areas in much more southern parts of Finland than the Saami today.

Study - Data - Individuals - Individuals - Kola

For the present study, genome-wide genetic data from 11 individuals were retrieved. Eight individuals came from the Kola Peninsula, six from a burial dated to 3,500 years ago, and two from an 18th to 19th century Saami cemetery. “We were surprised to find that the oldest samples studied here had the highest proportion of Siberian ancestry,” says Stephan Schiffels, co-senior author of the study, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

The other three individuals analyzed for the study came from a water burial in Levänluhta, Finland. Levänluhta is one of the oldest known burials in Finland in which human bones have been preserved. The bodies were buried in what used to be a small lake or a pond, and this seems to have contributed to exceptionally good preservation of the remains.

Study - Ancient - Individuals - Populations - Saami

The study compared the ancient individuals not only to each other, but also to modern populations, including Saami, Finnish and other Uralic language speakers. Among...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Archeology
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