Scientists have recovered the first genome from the skeleton of a 7,000-year-old European hunter-gatherer. The discovery comes from a human skeleton found in 2006 in the La Braña-Arintero cave complex in northwest Leon, Spain. What the scientists have found is that the man, who was from the Mesolithic period between 5-10,000 years ago, was European with genes that are characteristic of African descent, but also had the genetics of a blue eyed-European. After analysis of ‘La Brana 1’, the man was of a rare genetic profile, likely proving that early humans had a combination of heritage, blue eyes and dark brown skin. The skeleton of ‘La Braña 1’ are the oldest human remains found to date.
From the condition of the man’s bones, he ate a low-starch diet and was lactose intolerant. The information was discovered from the DNA of the man’s tooth. The scientists will be able to make more conclusive results about the overall genetic makeup of early humans of the Mesolithic period once the bones of a second skeleton, ‘La Braña 2’, from the same cave are analyzed. The remains of ‘La Braña 1’ were able to be analyzed using complete mitochondrial DNA.
Researchers believe that the remains of both skeletons are not of those related to the inhabitants that reside in present-day Leon.
Prior to the findings of the skeletons in the cave in Spain, the oldest human DNA belonged to Otzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy found in the Alps in 1991.