The post doc will undertake methods development and large scale sequence analysis for inference of ancient human population processes from the Neanderthal legacy of all non-African human populations. Large scale sequencing of modern and ancient human genomes has taught us about human movements across the world over the past 60,000 years, but little about how they lived. This has been the domain of archaeology and anthropology. We propose that extant and ancient genomes contain time-resolved information about the ages of reproduction of fathers and mothers. These key parameters illuminate how cultural practices evolved over time and space, e.g. whether a society was patriarchal or matriarchal, agriculturalists or hunter-gatherers, nomadic or sessile, living in harsh or accommodating conditions. The reason they can be inferred is that genetic recombination breaks the genome into independent pieces. It is a regular process that counts the number of generations passed over a time span. Specifically, I will use how the size distribution of genomic fragments from Neanderthals and Denisovans changes over time and superimpose this inference on human history. We will validate the approach on historical data when cultural practices are known and then use it to infer for which there is less information. We will perform large scale computational analyses and collaborate with archaeologists and anthropologists to draw unique conclusions about human culture.
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