Genomic study sheds light on how ancient Tibetan peoples lived

A study published in the journal Science Advances led by Professor Fu Qiaomei of the Institute

paleontology and paleoanthropology of vertebrates of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has allowed scientists to learn more about the ancient inhabitants of the Tibetan Plateau.

Tibetan Plateau, the highest and largest plateauabove sea level, is one of the harshest places on Earth inhabited by people. It is characterized by a cold and arid environment, and the height often exceeds 400 m above sea level. The plateau covers a vast expanse of Asia - about 2.5 million square meters. km. The plateau is home to more than 7 million people, mostly belonging to the ethnic groups of Tibetans and Sherpas.

However, our understanding of their origin and historyon the plateau is uneven. Despite the rich archaeological context spanning the plateau, ancient human DNA samples have only been obtained from a small area of ​​the southwestern plateau in the Himalayas.

Scientists have sequenced the genomes of 89 ancient people dating back to 5100 BC. of 29 archaeological sites of the Tibetan Plateau.

The researchers found that the ancient people who lived throughout the plateau have a single origin, descending from the population of northern East Asia.

Chronological and geographical distribution of ancient people selected for this study on the Tibetan Plateau. Photo: Fu Qiaomei

"This pattern is observed

on the Tibetan Plateau

sya in populations from 5100 years ago, before the advent ofdomesticated crops on the plateau,” explains Professor Fu. She noted that the introduction of Northeast Asian origin into plateau populations occurred before barley and wheat were introduced and was not due to migratory wheat and barley farmers.

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Cover photo: Skull and mandible of a Zonggri man by Fu Qiaomei