It was thought that Europeans are a mix of three distant populations: hunters; Middle Eastern farmers and easterners who arrived during the Bronze Age.
But Nature Communications has revealed that genetic material retrieved from a skeleton in the Caucasus points towards a fourth population which has contributed to the European gene pool.
Genomes harvested from burial sites thanks to scientific advances has meant that more data about ancient humans can be collected - altering our conception of our genetic legacy.
|The 10,000 year old Georgian skeleton, from which the data was collected|
The migration of Middle Easterners 33,000 years hence shifted the genetic paradigm and introduced agriculture to Europe. 4,000 years later the Yamnaya - a herder people whose genetic contribution is concentrated most voluminously in the modern Norwegian population - entered Europe from the Steppes.
This groundbreaking discovery means researchers are likely to be puzzling over where the "fourth tribe" fits into the genetic story of Europe for quite some time yet.