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Bronze Age humans racked up travel miles

Large-scale genetic study also shows that many of these ancient peoples were lactose intolerant

1:00pm, June 10, 2015

PAST JOURNEYS  This ocher-covered skull, found in southwestern Russia, comes from a member of the Bronze Age’s Yamnaya culture. A new genetic study reveals that this culture spread far and wide across Eurasia. 

Humans’ Bronze Age ancestors were big travelers, but probably not so fond of dairy.  

A large-scale study of ancient genetics, published June 11 in Nature, provides evidence for migrations and lactose intolerance in Bronze Age cultures in Eurasia.

The Bronze Age, about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, was a time of big cultural changes, says study coauthor Morten Allentoft, a geneticist at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. Archaeologists have argued about whether those changes came from the spread of ideas or the physical migration of ancient humans, Allentoft says.

Allentoft and his colleagues analyzed over 600 samples of Bronze Age human remains, mostly teeth, from Europe and Asia. Only 101 specimens provided usable DNA. The scientists extracted genetic material from the tooth’s hard outer layer, which preserves DNA better than the

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