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European face-off for early farmers

A new analysis of modern and ancient human skulls supports the idea that early farmers in the Middle East spread into Europe between 11,000 and 6,500 years ago, intermarried with people there, and passed on their agricultural way of life to the native Europeans.

C. Loring Brace of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his colleagues compared 24 measurements for each of 1,282 skulls from current and prehistoric populations in Europe, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. The sample included 201 skulls from early farmers and 219 skulls from Bronze Age people, who lived between 4,300 and 2,700 years ago.

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