Through this woman's remains, the world of Jōmon stonemasons completely contradicts what we imagine about Japanese people today.
After two decades of finding the remains of the Jōmon woman in Hokkaido, the scientists deciphered her genetic secret. It was a woman who passed away when she was older, black hair but freckled, brown eyes, a strong and alcoholic appearance that was remarkable, contrary to the portraits of Japanese women we saw before.
She lived during the Jōmon period , also known as the Neolithic period of Japan , which lasted from 10,500 to 300 BC. The results showed that she died about 3,550 to 3,960 years ago.
What surprised the most researchers was that she owned a common gene variant in 70% of people living in the Arctic , which enhances the ability to digest fat-rich foods, which Asians today do not owned.
Researcher Hideaki Kanzawa, from the National Museum of Science and Nature (Tokyo, Japan), one of the authors, said the strange variant revealed Jōmon people were skilled hunters. They not only hunt terrestrial animals but also catch sea fish, fur seals, sea lions and Steller sea lions, dolphins . Many relics related to the hunting of large oceanic animals are also possible. found at Funadomari archaeological site (Hokkaido), where the woman's remains were found.
The ability to tolerate large alcohol is also a very special factor because as many studies have demonstrated, people in East Asia have poor tolerance of alcohol, the main manifestation is the blush that appears very quickly despite just drink less alcohol or light alcoholic drinks like beer.
The woman's strange DNA shows that the legendary Jōmon of Japan had a split with continental Asians from about 38,000 to 18,000 years ago. They also have wet earwax, a trait that is regulated by a different gene variant with 95% of the East Asian population, who have dry ear wax.
The analysis shows that despite the different looks and life, Jōmon people still have close relationships with Japanese people today. In addition, they are close relatives of Ulchi (Eastern Russia), Koreans, Taiwanese aborigines, Filipinos .
"These findings provide an insight into the history and reconstruction of the ancient population structures in the Eastern European continent" - population genetics professor Naruya Saitou, from the National Institute of Genetics Japanese family members, research team members, said.
The study will be detailed in a few weeks in the English version of The Anthropological Society of Nippon scientific journal.