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This theory stood until the 2000s, when new technology reversed it.
He had often carped about the public's interest in fossils, so much less informative—to him—than genetic studies of the living.
Once DNA could be extracted from ancient bones, however,
it showed that although agriculture had indeed reached Europe from the Middle East,
a wave of immigration from the north-east, starting about 5,000 years ago, had diluted those first farmers with tall herdsmen from the Pontic Steppe.
People had moved and mixed in prehistory more than he thought;
and not all ancient events, as he supposed, had left their mark in modern populations.
Even more controversial was his Human Genome Diversity Project, which he set up in the 1990s.
He wanted to study isolated populations in order to understand where all the others came from;
to measure the background of drift, or genetic change, that takes place without marauding or migration.
Some people thought this racist, and a more worldly man might have realised that.
A few critics even brought up his membership of Benito Mussolini's fascist youth organisation, compulsory before the war.
All this dismayed him, as he had done so much to strike down "scientific" studies based on race.
The project died in its original form, though it was resurrected as the Genographic Project, which goes on.
From Belluno he witnessed the overturning of many other conclusions.
Every evolutionary story he had touched became more complex by the day.
Yet he could comfort himself that without his original vision for the study of human history through its genes, much of that great debate would not have happened at all.