The way to the Canary Islands

Today we publish our work on the native inhabitants on Gran Canarias and Tenerife in Current Biology. We all participated and did our parts, all of us who are authoring it. But before all this is Ricardo Rodriguez and Linus Girdland Flinks work. And with some substantial input from Torsten Günther. This story began when Linus was a frequent visitor here in Stockholm, and Ricardo just started. After his time in Aberdeen, Linus had lists of samples in various Scottish collections and all kinds of ideas (Linus is one of the most creative people I know), the Canary Island idea was one of them. At the same time Ricardo started here, and was looking for a comprehensive and well defined project. Linus creativity paired with Ricardos accuracy provided for the perfect team-work.

Linus working Canary Island samples, Karolyn Shindlers photo

Linus Flink

The question “from where did the native inhabitants on Gran Canaria and Tenerife arrive” were eventually answered with northern Africa, and most likely from relatives or ancestors of modern Berbers. But the path to this conclusion was not easy, much has happened in northern Africa since the Canary Islands were inhabited, and thus it was not without complications to use modern genomes from northern Africa as reference material for our ancient Canary Island samples. And it was here Torsten Günther stepped in. An interesting computational problem for a brilliant computational biologist. The study is out now, living its own life. And I hope you enjoy it.


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