About 7,000 years ago, high in Spain’s northern Cantabrian mountains, a pair of weary hunters took refuge in a deep cavern, never to emerge again. Until 2006, that is, when these early humans were uncovered by cave explorers.
Dating from pre-agricultural Europe, these remains predate Ötzi the Iceman by nearly two millenia. Recently, scientists were able to piece together about 1% of each caveman’s genome, using techniques right out of CSI: Iceman.
The DNA of these early Iberians does not appear related to modern Spanish and Portuguese, but rather more closely related to Northern Europeans. Certain parts of their DNA show that early Europeans from Poland and Lithuania were brethren of those as far away as Spain … truly nomadic hunter-gatherers!
These represent the earliest genome sequences of modern humans. The percentage of the genome that they sequence should go up as the team continues its work, and we’ll know even more about how the earliest humans in Europe contributed to the world we see today.
Posts from the ‘spain’ Category
An autonomous car test was carried out in Spain last week by Project SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment). Working with Volvo, they have developed a reliable ability for cars to join with a “platoon” of other cars following the leader. While part of the group, the car completely takes over driving, keeping a 10 to 50 ft distance from the car in front of it. In this test, a truck and 3 cars traveled 125 miles over the course of the day, using public highways at a cruising speed of about 53mph.
The project has three primary aims: convenience, safety, and efficiency. Obviously, being able to work or read or any number of things on long commutes is handy. Also, because a lot of people do that sort of thing anyway while driving, the system would be able to alleviate the danger of human error (to some degree). By allowing the cars to follow each other much more closely and maintain safety, it also increases the ability to save fuel through drafting. The amount of fuel saved is the focus of their next set of experiments.
Those moments you realize we live in the future.