This week’s cover shows the three ancestral populations for modern Europeans in an informative and beautifully crafted sketch. Nature’s Art Director Kelly Krause talks us through the inspiration behind the cover.
By sequencing and comparing the genomes of nine ancient Europeans that bridge the transition to agriculture in Europe between 8,000 and 7,000 years ago, David Reich and colleagues show that most present-day Europeans derive from at least three highly differentiated populations — west European hunter-gatherers, ancient north Eurasians (related to Upper Palaeolithic Siberians) and early European farmers of mainly Near Eastern origin. They further propose that early European farmers had about 44% ancestry from a ‘basal Eurasian’ population that split before the diversification of other non-African lineages. These results raise interesting new questions, for instance that of where and when the Near Eastern farmers mixed with European hunter-gatherers to produce the early European farmers. Cover: Leonardo Gonzalez.
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“The authors of the paper sent in several gorgeous cover submissions in different styles, from polished realistic drawings to a more sketched style. The loose sketch style won out, as I felt it beautifully expressed several themes: the outlined profiles give a hint of clarity to the past, based on the research, but speak to questions that remain; also, sketches give an impression of slight messiness that I thought worked well with the idea of a ‘melting pot’.
“And the image is not just beautiful but informative, with the underlying map including a representation of data from the research.”