Yale archaeologists publish “Ancient DNA” in Nature

February 24, 2022
“Ancient DNA and deep population structure in sub-Saharan African foragers” was just published in Nature, with Yale archaeologist Jessica Thompson and graduate student Alex Bertacchi as co-authors. Read their article here, and Yale News coverage here


Jessica Thompson is PI of the Paleoarchaeology lab in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University, and Alex Bertacchi is a lab member. Thompson leads the Malawi Ancient Lifeways and Peoples Project (MALAPP) in collaboration with the Malawi Department of Museums and Monuments, which resulted in recovery of three sets of ancient infant remains that produced some of the oldest DNA in Africa, published 23 February 2022 in the journal Nature. This paper, on which both Thompson and Bertacchi are authors, shows that human mobility changed from long-distance to more regional at the end of the last Ice Age across southern-central Africa. Thompson and Bertacchi specialize in the study of fossil animal bones from archaeological sites, which they use to reconstruct ancient environments and hunter-gatherer behavior. For his dissertation, Bertacchi is using the results of this ancient DNA study to build hypotheses about how ancient human mobility and social organization may have been impacted in the region by changing environments.