Megalithic monument of Almendres, Evora, in Portugal. (Credit: © mrfotos_fotolia / Fotolia
Scientists have used DNA analysis to gain important new insights into how human beings repopulated Europe as the Ice Age relaxed its grip.
Dr Maria Pala, who is based at the University of Huddersfield -- now a key centre for archaeo-genetics research -- is the lead author of an article in the latest issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics which shows how the Near East was a major source of replenishment when huge areas of European territory became habitable again, up to 19,000 years ago.
Until the new findings, it was thought that there were two principal safe havens for humans as the Ice Age, or Last Glacial Maximum, descended, approximately 26,000 years ago. They were a "Franco-Cantabrian" area roughly coinciding with northern Spain/southern France, and a "Periglacial province" on the Ukrainian plains.