One of anthropology's most enduring mysteries - the origins of the ancient Etruscan civilisation - may finally have been solved, with a study of cattle.
This culturally distinct and technologically advanced civilisation inhabited central Italy from about the 8th century BC, until it was assimilated into Roman culture around the end of the 4th century BC.
The origins of the Etruscans, with their own non-Indo-European language, have been debated by archaeologists, geneticists and linguists for centuries. Writing in the 5th century BC, the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Etruscans had arrived in Italy from Lydia, now called Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.
Bad quoting there. This is the guts of it: The team found that almost 60% of the mitochondrial DNA in cows in the central Tuscan region of the country - where the Etruscan civilisation is thought to have arisen - was the same as that in cows from Anatolia and the Middle East. There was little or no genetic convergence between cows from the north and south of Italy and those from Turkey and the Middle East, the researchers say.
Interesting, but they'll need to show why there's nothing beween there and Italy. The article suggests that they sailed there. Eh.