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Scandinavians’ ancestors were immigrants

University of Copenhagen research shows that Scandinavians displaced Stone Age hunter gatherers

The Scandinavians of today are descendants of immigrants who arrived in the Stone Age, along with the introduction of agriculture, writes science website

This means they arrived later than previously believed. Up to now, they were thought to descend from hunter-gatherers who came after the last ice age, 4000 years ago.

The discovery is the result of a research collaboration between the University of Copenhagen (U of C) and British and Swedish universities.

The findings, which are the result of genetic and archaeological investigations, are published in the journal Current Biology

A different gene pool

»The hunter-gatherers who inhabited Scandinavia more than 4,000 years ago had a different gene pool than ours,« explains Anders Götherström of the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University.

He, along with Eske Willerslev of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the U of C, headed the research project.

The study involved using DNA from Stone Age remains to investigate whether agricultural practices were introduced by an immigrant population or represented innovations on the part of hunter-gatherers.

Migration at onset of Stone Age

»Our findings show that today’s Scandinavians are not the direct descendants of the hunter-gatherers who lived in the region during the Stone Age,« says Petra Molnar of the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University.

»This entails the conclusion that some form of migration to Scandinavia took place, probably at the onset of the agricultural Stone Age,« she adds.