Alexander the Great’s army, Genghis Khan’s Mongolian hordes, and the Ottomans all moved through this hub: The Southern Caucasus. This is the meeting point between East and West, and people have always migrated through, while one culture after another has changed.
But surprisingly, the population has remained genetically the same throughout millennia, shows a new study.
“It’s basically the same female population in the region over the past 8,000 years,” says lead-author Ashot Margaryan from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.
“This suggests that new ideas drove cultural changes in the southern Caucasus,” he says.
“The past five years of genetic studies have shown that cultural changes in many cases are connected to genetic changes, which suggests migration. But the new study shows that in one of the most culturally diverse and exciting regions in the world there was a high degree of genetic continuity, even though the culture has changed constantly,” says Rasmus Nielsen, professor of evolutionary biology at the University of California Berkeley.
[Read the full study here]
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