Two 31,000-year-old milk teeth from an excavation site in northeastern Siberia have led to the discovery of a previously unknown population that lived in the area during the last ice age. SIB Group Leader Laurent Excoffier from the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern was involved in the discovery of these "Ancient North Siberians". The results are published in the journal Nature.

“Remarkably, the Ancient North Siberians people are more closely related to Europeans than Asians and seem to have migrated all the way from Western Eurasia soon after the divergence between Europeans and Asians,” says Excoffier.

The finding was part of a wider study which also discovered 10,000 year-old human remains in another site in Siberia are genetically related to Native Americans – the first time such close genetic links have been discovered outside of the US.

Read the full press release in German or French (University of Bern), or in English (University of Cambridge).


Sikora M et al. The population history of northeastern Siberia since the Pleistocene. Nature doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1279-z

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The two 31,000-year-old milk teeth found at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site in Russia which led to the discovery of a new group of ancient Siberians. Photo: Russian Academy of Sciences