A new study has revealed that half of all European men are descended from a single Bronze Age monarch.
Scientists are unable to say exactly who this individual was or where he lived, but by analyzing the sequence differences in Y chromosomes from 1200 men across Europe it has been possible to link half of the continent’s male population to this one historical figure who lived 4,000 years ago.
Believed to have been a person of much power and influence, this Bronze Age king is thought to have used advances in technology ( such as wheeled transport ) to sire a dynasty of elite nobles whose descendants spread throughout Europe right up until the present day.
“In Europe there was huge population expansion in just a few generations,” said Dr Chris Tyler-Smith from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “Genetics can’t tell us why it happened but we know that a tiny number of elite males were controlling reproduction and dominating the population.”
“Half of the European population is descended from just one man. We can only speculate as to what happened. The best explanation is that they may have resulted from advances in technology that could be controlled by small groups of men.”
The team’s research also looked at the first common ancestor of all modern humans and found that everyone alive today is descended from a single individual who lived over 190,000 years ago.