LIFE

Europeans descended from Neolithic Turks in Çatalhöyük, genomic evidence suggests

Undated photo shows Çatalhöyük archaeological site in Turkey's Konya. (AA Photo)

European people might have originated from Anatolia during the Neolithic era as samples from ancient bodies recovered in both regions share genetic similarities, a recent study by the Polish National Science Center has revealed.

According to the study "Ancient Mitochondrial Genomes Reveal the Absence of Maternal Kinship in the Burials of Çatalhöyük People and Their Genetic Affinities", which was published in Genes journal in January, European people might have originated from Turkey's famous Neolithic-era settlement Çatalhöyük in Konya province.

Taking DNA samples from ancient bodies uncovered in Çatalhöyük, researchers found that genomic data, both from the Marmara Region and Central Anatolia, shared genetic similarity with those regions and close genetic affinity with Central European Neolithic populations.

"Those results support the leading role of the terrestrial route of the Neolithic spread both within and outside of the Anatolia," the study said.

Istanbul University Professor of Archaeology Ömer Erbil, who previously claimed that European people were originally from Çatalhöyük, said the study proved his archaeology-based claims were now backed with science.

"We came to this conclusion with archaeological findings before. What we claimed was not nonsense, it was backed with scientific facts. DNA tests prove archaeological findings. The migration wave started in 7400 B.C. and continued for thousands of years," he told Turkish daily the Hürriyet.

One of the world's first urban centers which dates back 9,000 years, Çatalhöyük is included in the 2012 UNESCO World Heritage List.

"Since 1993, the Çatalhöyük Research Project has recruited an international group of specialists to pioneer new archaeological, conservation and curatorial methods on and off site. Simultaneously, it aims to advance our understandings of human life in the past," Çatalhöyük's official website reads.

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