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New Study Finds Modern Europeans Have a 4th DNA Strain

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Recently geneticists discovered a 4th ancestral ‘tribe’ which helped seed the modern European Gene Pool.

Research and genetics have shown us that modern Europeans are a mix between 3 major groups that traveled to Europe at various times.  Indigenous hunters, a group from the east who came during the Bronze Age and a group of Middle eastern Farmers were already known to be in a mix.  Now the DNA from some ancient remains reveal a 4th ancestor’s DNA that was added to the mix.

With new technology and the mapping of the human genome, researchers have a huge advantage when they are out on expeditions.  They can travel to ancient burial grounds and discover more about our long and mostly hidden past.  The human genome is a blueprint for a human and its contained within the DNA of every cell.   This also means that we only need one good cell to analyze the DNA of our ancient ancestors.

This now outpouring of data is helping us better understand ourselves while also showing us how little we know about the genetics of the past.  We used to think that our modern DNA was a good indication of where we came from, but we are finding that we were wrong.  We are the end result and are still finding all of the seeds that created us.

If you were to break it all down into a timeline the indigenous hunter-gatherers appear to enter Europe before the Ice Age that took place around 40,000 years ago.  In more recent times, 7,000 years ago, that group was swept up into the migration of Middle Eastern Farmers.

The Yamnaya people had a very important impact on the genetics of northern and central Europe

The Yamnaya people had a very important impact on the genetics of northern and central Europe

The Language shift

Then around 3,000 years ago a group of herders called the Yamnaya moved to Europe from the Russia and Ukraine eastern Steppe region.

These new people brought horse riding and metal working to the area as well as Indo-European languages.  This group is the biggest influence on the modern languages spoken in Europe.

In the Yamnaya burial grounds, researchers discovered traces of the plague which makes them suspect that their passage may have been because of spreading diseases.

Gene pools were transformed by the Yamnaya tribe.  Modern central and northern Europeans, such as the Norwegian owe up to 50% of their ancestry to this ancient people.

But who made up the Yamanaya?  They were actually also a mixed people.  Half of their population came from a sister group of hunter-gatherers before Europe had farmers.  The other half comes from a group that is noticeable different from theMiddle Eastern farmers.

With the new discovery, researchers were able to analyse genomes from 2 groups of hunter-gathers from Georgia.  One was 13,000 years old and the other around 9,700.  The results show us that these early Caucasus humans were probably the farmer DNA that makes up the other half of the Yamnaya people.

Researchers have now analysed genomes from two hunter-gatherers from Georgia that are 13,300 and 9,700 years old. The results show that these Caucasus hunters were probably the source of the farmer-like DNA in the Yamnaya.

Isolation by ice

The new group of Caucasus hunter-gatherer’s DNA shows that they mixed every so often with their Middle Eastern cousins in the south who went on to invent farming techniques 10,000 years ago.  The mixing, however, stops around 25,000 years ago.  It is just before the time of the glacial Ice Age.

When you look at the DNA you can tell that the genetic variety shrunk during the time of the ice age as the population shrunk.  This is a sign that there was more breeding between people with similar DNA.

Once the ice receded the newly discovered Caucasus people made contact with a different group of hunter-gatherers living in the Steppe area and mixed with them.  That seeded the Yamnaya people.

Satsurblia cave in Western Georgia, where the human bone from over 13,000 years ago was discovered.

Satsurblia cave in Western Georgia, where the human bone from over 13,000 years ago was discovered.

“The question of where the Yamnaya come from has been something of a mystery up to now,” said Dr Andrea Manica, co-author of the research from the University of Cambridge.

“We can now answer that as we’ve found that their genetic make-up is a mix of Eastern European hunter-gatherers and a population from this pocket of Caucasus hunter-gatherers who weathered much of the last Ice Age in apparent isolation.”

This same group may have also influenced other groups such as those further east in South Asia which may be why there was a spread of Indo-European languages into that region.

With all of the changes going on in what we know about ourselves and our ancestry, it may become even harder to predict what our genetics will do in the future.  Learning where we come from shines light on the present and future but until we know more it only a big guessing game.

Sources-

www.bbc.com

www.universityherald.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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