Analysis of DNA from some of the world’s first farmers shows that they had surprisingly diverse origins. Researchers compared the genomes of ancient Neolithic skeletons from across the Near East, where farming began. The results shed light on a debate over whether farming spread out from a single source in the region, or whether multiple farmer groups spread their technology across Eurasia. The switch from mobile hunting and gathering to the sedentary lifestyle of farming first occurred about 10,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. After the last Ice Age, this new way of life spread rapidly across Eurasia, in one of the most important behavioral transitions in human history. Analysis of DNA from ancient remains in Europe has established that farming spread via the mass migration of people, rather than the adoption of new ideas by indigenous populations.
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