Monday, November 22, 2021

DNA from Mysterious Asian Mummies Reveals their Surprising Ancestry

 The origins of the Tarim Basin mummies has long puzzled scientists. Now,  they have a new theory - CNN    

Naturally mummified bodies were found in the desert-like Tarim Basin located in western China. These preserved bodies were determined to be from about 4000 to 1800 years ago. The 4000 year old mummies that were excavated belonged to the Xiaohe population. These people's culture revolved around herding animals and growing plants. Their coffins were very different from the others as they had preserved cheese, wheat, and clothes that were actually made from western Eurasian wool. This hinted that the Xiaohe people had distant contacts or origins.

Archaeologists in China performed at a study where they analyzed DNA from 13 of the bodies found in the Tarim Basin as well as five human mummies from the Dzugarian Basin. From the analysis of the study, the Tarim population had traceable ancestry to hunters and gatherers who inhabited northern Eurasia more than 9000 years ago. The studies also suggest that the Xiaohe culture did not mate with any outsiders for a very long time. The analysis of the mummies from the Dzungarian Basin showed that their ancestry dates back to the Afanasievo culture. Milk proteins were found in the dental tartar of these mummies which indicates that they consumed dairy products in their lifetime. 

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