DNA discovery reveals relatives of ancient Egyptians – CNN

Scientists analyzing mummy DNA find that the closest ancient relations were from the Near East and Europe.

Source: DNA discovery reveals relatives of ancient Egyptians – CNN

The “Black Egyptians” theorists are not gonna like this…

Ancient Egyptians and their modern counterparts share less in common than you might think. That is, at least genetically, a team of scientists have found.

Researchers from the University of Tuebingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, both in Germany, have decoded the genome of ancient Egyptians for the first time, with unexpected results.

Publishing its findings in Nature Communications, the study concluded that preserved remains found in Abusir-el Meleq, Middle Egypt, were closest genetic relatives of Neolithic and Bronze Age populations from the Near East, Anatolia and Eastern Mediterranean Europeans.

Modern Egyptians, by comparison, share much more DNA with sub-Saharan populations.

This is, of course, basically what ancient sources and traditional scholarship alike have been saying for centuries, indeed millennia. But the classical narrative has been challenged by people who, for contemporary social and political reasons, wanted to advance a counter-narrative which gave a higher profile to sub-Saharan Africans. Interesting to see that the latest science tends to confirm traditional understandings, not modern political correctness!

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The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals | Science | AAAS

Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods.

Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.

Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece…

Source: The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals | Science | AAAS

The title of this piece is a touch misleading, in that it may seem to imply that the ancient Greeks really were descended from the gods, or at least their heroes were. But although the truth is somewhat more prosaic, it is no less interesting!

In addition to the usefulness to historians, archaeologists, mythologists, and students of literature of confirming that there was and is a Mycenaean – and indeed, Minoan – connection with modern Greeks, and a very significant one, this also is further evidence that ancient myths and legends, originally carried down through the oral traditions of a people and only later put to writing, may nonetheless have striking validity.

This is not news to many of us, of course; but it may be to others, who have bought into the popular misrepresentation of “myth” as a synonym for “fallacy.” Leaving aside the 19th centuries discoveries of such men as the highly controversial Heinrich Schliemann (Troy) and the brilliant but political Arthur Evans (Minoan Crete), it is remarkable how many biblical accounts have been either confirmed or at least rendered markedly more probable by archaeological discoveries.

Nowadays, it seems that genetics is following in those hallowed footsteps!