Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim
However Egyptologist says he is 'particularly suspicious of any statement that may have the unintended consequences of asserting – yet again from a northern European or North American perspective – that there’s a discontinuity' between ancient and modern populations
Scientists who managed to obtain full genome sequences of Ancient Egyptians for the first time have concluded the people of the pharaohs were more closely related to modern Europeans and inhabitants of the Near East rather than present-day Egyptians.
But the claims sparked suspicion from one leading Egyptologist, who questioned whether genetic analysis could justify such a sweeping statement and pointed to a long history of spurious attempts to separate ancient Egyptians from the modern-day population.
The mummies were taken from a single archaeological site on the River Nile, Abusir el-Meleq, which was inhabited from 3,250BC to 700AD and was home to a cult of Osiris, the god of the dead, making it a good place to be buried.
A complete genome sequence was obtained for three mummies and mitochondrial DNA, which is passed through the female line, was obtained from 90 individuals. They were dated to between about 1,400BC and 400AD.