Dual ancestries and ecologies of the Late Glacial Palaeolithic in Britain.
Genetic investigations of Upper Palaeolithic Europe have revealed a complex and transformative history of human population movements and ancestries, with evidence of several instances of genetic change across the European continent in the period following the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Concurrent with these genetic shifts, the post-LGM period is characterized by a series of significant climatic changes, population expansions and cultural diversification. Britain lies at the extreme northwest corner of post-LGM expansion and its earliest Late Glacial human occupation remains unclear. Here we present genetic data from Palaeolithic human individuals in the United Kingdom and the oldest human DNA thus far obtained from Britain or Ireland. We determine that a Late Upper Palaeolithic individual from Gough's Cave probably traced all its ancestry to Magdalenian-associated individuals closely related to those from sites such as El Mirón Cave, Spain, and Troisième Caverne in Goyet, Belgium. However, an individual from Kendrick's Cave shows no evidence of having ancestry related to the Gough's Cave individual. Instead, the Kendrick's Cave individual traces its ancestry to groups who expanded across Europe during the Late Glacial and are represented at sites such as Villabruna, Italy. Furthermore, the individuals differ not only in their genetic ancestry profiles but also in their mortuary practices and their diets and ecologies, as evidenced through stable isotope analyses. This finding mirrors patterns of dual genetic ancestry and admixture previously detected in Iberia but may suggest a more drastic genetic turnover in northwestern Europe than in the southwest.