Basque roots found in Britain and Ireland

March 7, 2007

A British geneticist says the Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh may have more ancestors in common than current inhabitants would like to believe.

While historians have taught that the Irish are descended from the Celts and the English are descended from the Anglo-Saxons, University of Oxford medical geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer says it is likely that Britain and Ireland are inhabited by a single people, The New York Times reported.

Oppenheimer, in his book "The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story," said DNA testing suggests the ancestors, who arrived about 16,000 years ago, were mostly from Spain. He said they spoke a language related to Basque.

Oppenheimer said DNA from later invaders accounts for 20 percent of the gene pool in Wales, 30 percent in Scotland, about a third in eastern and southern England and 12 percent in Ireland, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels

Related Stories

The Viking journey of mice and men

March 19, 2012

House mice (Mus musculus) happily live wherever there are humans. When populations of humans migrate the mice often travel with them. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology ...

Unmasking the matriarchs of thoroughbred racehorses

October 6, 2010

Thoroughbred racehorses have typically been associated with the highly-prized breeds of the Arabian Peninsula; but according to new research, their origins may be far more cosmopolitan than previously thought.

Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milk

April 1, 2010

The hunter-gatherers who inhabited the southern coast of Scandinavia 4,000 years ago were lactose intolerant. This has been shown by a new study carried out by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University. The ...

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.