According to Swedish researchers, all Scandinavians are descendents of immigrants who were believed to have first arrived in the region somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago.
Researchers have been studying DNA samples from ancient grave sites dating back to the Stone Age. Fossilised DNA has been recovered from 19 different subjects who were part of a hunter-gatherer culture that existed until some 4,000 years ago. The DNA from these graves has also been measured against current common regional inhabitants’ DNA with some interesting conclusions.
The study is based at Sweden’s Uppsala University and is led by Anders Gotherstrom who described the respective samples. “They differ very substantially. The gene pool that we have today could not have evolved by chance alone from that which existed then. Something else must have been added. Either a complete population replacement or gene flow,” he told The Local.
The samples from the hunter-gatherer communities were not found in any contemporary DNA, prompting Gotherstrom to suggest that the gene pool was probably mixed. “We have not quantified the results so we do not know that much, but my initial conclusion is that it is a mix. But there has to have been immigration. The gene pool among the hunters and gatherers is not sufficient,” Gotherstrom said.
After 4,000 BC the appearance of farmers began in Scandinavia and samples of their DNA did show up in comparison with modern Scandinavians. The new immigrants presumably came from the south, although exactly where is the next challenge for researchers.