When farmers encountered hunter-gatherers around 10,000 years ago, the interaction was more an explosion of love than hate, new DNA evidence suggests.For much of human history, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, mostly nomadic people who lived by hunting, fishing and harvesting wild food. Around 10,000 years ago, farming developed in Western Asia and quickly spread across Europe and to other parts of the world. The ancient lifestyle shift begs the question: What happened when the farmers first encountered the hunter-gatherers?
New DNA evidence reported in the journal Current Biology helps to provide the answer by showing that, at least in the area now known as Romania, hunter-gatherers and farmers were living side by side, intermixing with each other, and having children.
It was not necessarily love at first sight, though.
“Farmers arrived very suddenly, as a result of a fast expansion,” co-author Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge said. “It is likely that they lived side by side with local hunter-gatherer populations for a period of time — centuries or even a millennium or two — with increasing contact and mixing among the two communities.”
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