According to some recent discoveries, it seems that the first Anatolian farmers were descendants of the local hunter-gatherers. These are the findings of an international team of scientists that has analyzed eight ancient humans. The new study has been published in the journal Nature Communications, and it supports some existing archaeological evidence that hunter-gatherers from Anatolia actually adopted farming themselves.
Hunter-gatherers from Anatolia adopted farming
The team that analyzed the individuals was led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, who also collaborated with several scientists from Turkey, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
These findings are significant because they suggest that farming in Anatolia was not introduced by other people coming from a different area, but instead was developed by the local hunter-gatherers.
The new study sheds some light on a long-debated question regarding ancient humans
Scientists have always wondered if farming was brought to Anatolia by farmers who were migrating from the Fertile Crescent – the place where agriculture was initially developed around 11,000 years ago, or if the hunter-gatherers from the region, in fact, adopted it from their neighbors. Based on the recent discoveries, it looks like the second theory stands.
How did the team reach these conclusions?
The researchers analyzed ancient humans DNA belonging to eight different individuals, and they managed to recover the first genome-wide data from a 15,000-year-old hunter-gatherer from Anatolia. Thanks to this discovery, the team was able to compare the DNA of this specific individual to later farmers from Anatolia and to some other individuals from regions nearby. The team was then able to see exactly how these individuals were related.
What the team found was that the early Anatolian farmers were direct descendants of the hunter-gatherers from the region. “Our results provide additional, genetic support for previous archaeological evidence that suggests that Anatolia was not merely a stepping stone in a movement of early farmers from the Fertile Crescent into Europe,” said Choongwon Jeong, the co-senior author of the recent study.