Past is prologue for the future, as recent research unveils. A study performed on genes from 5000 years ago reveals that Europeans of that time were predominantly white and lactose intolerant. This is very insightful information on the way the Bronze Age changed Europe, as it seems that migration flourished back then, allowing for the racial diversity of our present times.
How did that happen?
Tolerance for lactose opened new ways to understand, perceive and live life among our ancestors. The Bronze Era, coming along with a biological evolution that made milk digestion possible, marked the transition from a predominantly hunter-gatherer way of life to an agricultural lifestyle, hence the rise of urban civilizations from Babylon to Egypt to classical Greece and Rome.
Researchers had linked the development of lactose tolerance to the Neolithic period, when cattle were introduced to Europe by Anatolian farmers. At the end of the Bronze Age, the spread of the LCT gene, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, was still a matter of scarcity. But the Bronze Age indeed market a shift in biology, as races have diversified and people mingled, allowing for a more complex genetic structure to appear.
The era’s most significant migration appeared at a time with the rapid expansion of a certain culture known as the Yamnaya that left the steppes of the Caucasus and Ural regions and arrived to Europe in the Early Bronze Age. The patterns of genetic signatures show that these guys, who already had developed a high tolerance for lactose, interbred with hunter gatherers and farmers who lived in northern Europe. This has influenced the emergence of another set of ancient people and can be marked the starting point of diversification in racial traits.
The genetic material that came as a relevant study base for researchers was extracted from the teeth of 101 ancient humans. The diversity and certain particularities, such as lactose tolerance, show how mass migrations changed the people of Europe during the Bronze Age that lasted from 3000 BC to 1000 BC.
Spread of genetic particularities during the Bronze Age doesn’t represent the only innovation that happened back then. Other findings reveal that those were the times when the Indo-European languages started taking shape and turning into the modern English, German, French, Russian and Hindi.
Well, if lactose tolerance is somewhat an inconsistent clue related to the great diversity emergence back in the Bronze Age, the birth of new languages surely exposes a heavier side of this truth turned to facts.
Image Source: sciencenordic.com