African and European Genes Found in Ancient Hunter Gatherer

AncientRemains of hunter gatherer that lived around 7,000 years ago were discovered in 2006 in a deep subterranean cave called La Braña-Arintero near Leon in north-west Spain.

After studying the remains, scientists were quite surprised to find a combination of African and European genes. The hunter gatherer is considered to be the earliest known person with blue eyes. The man, who was 5 ft 7 in height and was aged between 30 and 35 years, was said to be closely related to modern-day Scandinavians.

He had dark-skinned genes, which has contradicted previous assumptions that light skin has evolved quite early in Europe.

He was possessing African version of the genes that are responsible for the light pigmentation of the current Europeans.

Study co-author Carles Lalueza-Fox from Evolutionary Biology Institute, Spain, said, "Until now, it was assumed that light skin colour evolved quite early in Europe, (during) the Upper Palaeolithic... But this is clearly not the case".

The man who was a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer had not developed genomic traits that allowed him to digest milk and starch quite easily. The journal Nature-published study is based on the sequenced fragments of DNA extracted from the man's tooth. The study authors said more research on Mesolithic genomes is required.