Modern humans arrived in Europe 45,000 years ago but little is known about how they spread across the continent before the introduction of farming. Now, researchers carrying out the most detailed genetic analysis of Upper Paleolithic Europeans to date have discovered a major new lineage of early modern humans. This group, which lived in the northwest 35,000 years ago, directly contributed to the ancestry of present-day Europeans and is believed to have been formed of the'founding fathers' of Europe. Researchers carrying out the most detailed genetic analysis of Upper Paleolithic Europeans to date have discovered a major new lineage of early modern humans. This group, which lived in the northwest around 35,000 years ago, directly contributed to the ancestry of present-day Europeans (artist's impression pictured) Archaeological studies have previously found modern humans swept into Europe 45,000 years ago.
A proud lineage with a history stretching back thousands of years is swept aside by newcomers from the south-east – only to rise to dominance once more 15,000 years later. It's not the plotline of some fantasy epic, but the real story of prehistoric Europe in the years after modern humans conquered the continent – as a new genetic analysis has just revealed. We know that modern humans first arrived in Europe about 45,000 years ago when the continent was still a Neanderthal stronghold. Over the next 30,000 years – archaeological work has revealed – a procession of different cultures, each associated with different artefacts and lifestyles, rose in Europe. Archaeologists tend to think these sort of cultural shifts reflect the spread of new ideas through an unchanging population.
Anthropologists have uncovered a 38,000-year-old engraved image in a rock shelter in France - a finding that marks some of the earliest known graphic imagery in Western Eurasia. The findings provide a rare insight into the early modern humans' Aurignacian culture, which existed from approximately 43,000 to 33,000 years ago. The limestone slab is engraved with an image of aurochs, or extinct wild cow, and was discovered at Abri Blanchard in France's Vézère Valley. A key feature of Aurignacian culture is the use of core and blade technology and much of our understand about their culture comes from the artefacts they left behind. The limestone slab is engraved with an image of an extinct wild cow.
A study of DNA from ancient human bones has helped unlock the secrets of Europe's Ice Age inhabitants. Researchers analysed the genomes of 51 individuals who lived between 45,000 years ago and 7,000 years ago. The results reveal details about the biology of these early inhabitants, such as skin and eye colour, and how different populations were related. It also shows that Neanderthal ancestry in Europeans has been shrinking over time, perhaps due to natural selection. The study in Nature journal shines a torchlight over some 40,000 years of prehistory, showing that ancient patterns of migration were just as complex as those in more recent times.
The ancient origins of a technique used by several famous Romantic-era painters have been found among a bumper haul of ancient engravings. A treasure trove of 16 engraved limestone blocks crafted 38,000 years ago confirms the ancient origins of'pointillist techniques'. These techniques were later adopted by 19th and 20th-century artists such as Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Roy Lichtenstein. A treasure trove of 16 engraved limestone blocks created 38,000 years ago confirms the ancient origins of'pointillist techniques'. Pointillism is a painting technique in which small dots are used to create the illusion of a larger image.