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Aztec Conquerors Reshaped Genetic Landscape

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The Aztecs who conquered the city of Xaltocan in ancient Mexico around 1435 may have fundamentally changed the genetic makeup of the people who lived there, new research suggests.

The study, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, showed that maternal DNA from 25 residents of Xaltocan prior to the conquest did not match that found after. The findings may help shed light on a long-standing debate over whether the original Otomi people who lived in Xaltocan before the conquest either abandoned the site or were assimilated into Aztec life.

"We're telling a story that's more complicated and nuanced," said study author Lisa Overholtzer, an archaeologist at Wichita State University in Kansas. "We don't think there was a population replacement but we do think there was a demographic shift associated with the Aztec conquest."

http://www.livescience.com/26765-aztecs-changed-dna-people.html

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