Written in bone

Genetic data from ancient Europeans are rewriting the prehistory of the continent

KEEPING CLEAN  When studying ancient specimens, researchers work in ultraclean rooms to avoid contaminating samples with DNA from modern people or the environment.

Carles Lalueza-Fox nearly missed an opportunity to paint the genetic portrait of a 7,000-year-old Spaniard.

In 2006, spelunkers stumbled across the ancient remains of two men in a cave in Spain’s Cantabrian mountain range. Lalueza-Fox, an evolutionary geneticist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, got a call inviting him to examine the skeletons’ DNA.

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