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: Genetic discovery helps explain Irish giant folklore

Related Stories

Darwin descended from Cro-Magnon man: scientists

February 4, 2010

The father of evolution Charles Darwin was a direct descendant of the Cro-Magnon people, whose entry into Europe 30,000 years ago heralded the demise of Neanderthals, scientists revealed in Australia Thursday.

Time travel with the molecular clock

November 23, 2015

Migration isn't a new phenomenon, but new insights suggest that modern-day Europeans actually have at least three ancestral populations. This finding was published by Johannes Krause and prominently featured on the cover ...

Recommended for you

Amber specimen offers rare glimpse of feathered dinosaur tail

December 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered a dinosaur tail complete with its feathers trapped in a piece of amber. The finding reported in Current Biology on December 8 helps to fill in details of the dinosaurs' feather structure and evolution, ...

0 comments

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.