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In Images: An Ancient European Hunter Gatherer

Hunter gatherer genome

illustration of ancient hunter gatherer

(Image credit: CSIC)

A 2014 study in Nature has shown that a 7,000-year-old Mesolithic hunter-gatherer found in Spain had dark skin and blue-eyes.

Accidental find

Peña Remoña in cantabria

(Image credit: Jose Ignacio Soto |

In 2006, hikers accidentally discovered the remains, along with another skeleton, in the Cantabrian Moutnains of Northwest Spain.

Ancient burials

mesolithic hunter-gatherer skeleton from spain

(Image credit: J.M. Vidal Encina)

The remains of two males were found in a narrow, labyrinthine cave.

DNA extraction

skeleton of mesolithic hunter

(Image credit: J.M. Vidal Encina)

Though one of the mens' skeletons was too degraded to analyze, the team sequenced the genome of the other one, whose skeleton is shown here.

Close relatives?

skull of a mesolithic man found in cantabria

(Image credit: J.M. Vidal Encina)

The team found the manwas genetically closer to Northern Europeans than to Southern Europeans and lacked the European mutation that confers lighter skin.

Teeth and skull

teeth and part of skull of mesolithic fossil

(Image credit: Alberto Tapia)

Here, teeth and part of the skull from one of the fossils found in the cave.

Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News,, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.