rehistoric people who adopted farming as a way of life underwent evolutionary changes to adapt to their new lifestyle, a dramatic example of natural selection operating on the human species in the relatively recent past.
That’s one of the conclusions of a new study of the genomes of 230 individuals who lived thousands of years ago and whose bones have been recovered from Western Eurasia — a broad area that includes what is now Turkey, the Russian Steppe and Europe.
The research, published Monday in the journal Nature, identified 12 specific genetic mutations that corresponded to the rise of agriculture and the migration of people into new regions. They include the ability to digest milk and metabolize fats. The mutations also favored greater height at maturity, lighter skin and lighter eye color in northern populations. There are also genetic markers that appear to be connected to resistance against such diseases as leprosy and tuberculosis.