From 15 sets of skeletal remains, researchers have recovered DNA from the oldest viruses known to have infected humans— and have resurrected some strains in the laboratory.
Category Archives: Ancient DNA
The Justinian Plague, which struck in 541 AD, may have killed as many as 25 million.
Now, scientists say the outbreak probably originated in Asia, not Egypt as contemporary and more recent chroniclers had thought.
The finding comes from analysis of DNA found in 137 human skeletons unearthed on the Eurasian steppe.
The steppe region covers a vast area, spanning some 8,000km from Hungary to north-eastern China. The large sample of individuals covers a date range of 2,500 BC – 1,500 AD.
A quest to determine whether human remains salvaged from the wreck of the Whydah pirate ship are those of its captain, Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, brought an investigator for the project across the Atlantic Ocean to gather DNA from Bellamy’s descendant and visit the pirate’s birthplace.
A museum wasn’t sure whose head they had put on display. That’s when the F.B.I.’s forensic scientists were called in to crack the agency’s oldest case.
When humans were walking around the west coast of current day Canada 13,000 years ago, they left behind footprints.
That’s according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE that outlines the discovery of 29 human footprints found at the shoreline of Calvert Island in British Columbia.
An undisturbed elite tomb discovered in ancient Armageddon is replete with gold offerings—and the promise of unlocking secrets with DNA analysis.
A study of ancient DNA has shed light on the epic journeys that led to the settlement of the Pacific by humans.
Fueled by advances in analyzing DNA from the bones of ancient humans, scientists have dramatically expanded the number of samples studied – revealing vast and surprising migrations and genetic mixing of populations in our prehistoric past.
WEST YARMOUTH, Mass. — A human bone freed from a mass of sediment found in the area of the sunken Whydah pirate ship could hold enough DNA to help scientists determine whether it belonged to the pirate captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy.
A recent facial reconstruction of a 10,000-year-old skeleton called the “Cheddar Man” has revealed a man with bright blue eyes, slightly curly hair, and dark skin.
“It might surprise the public, but not ancient DNA geneticists,” says Mark Thomas, a scientist at the University College London.
An ancient jawbone uncovered from a collapsed cave on the coast of Israel is at least 175,000 years old, and it belonged to a member of our own species. Sophisticated stone tools were discovered nearby.
A pair of ancient Egyptian mummies, known for more than a century as the Two Brothers, were actually half brothers, a new study of their DNA finds.
A baby girl who lived some 11,500 years ago survived for just six weeks in the harsh climate of central Alaska, but her brief life is providing a surprising and challenging wealth of information to modern researchers.
Her genome is the oldest-yet complete genetic profile of a New World human. But if that isn’t enough, her genes also reveal the existence of a previously unknown population of people who are related to—but older and genetically distinct from— modern Native Americans.
This year has been a good one for skeletons. Bioarchaeological and forensic research continues to be published in a growing number of specialty and general academic journals, and it’s also being covered by mass media news outlets — from the well-known National Geographic and LiveScience to the up-and-coming SAPIENS. But these are the five most fascinating skeletons that I covered here at Forbes in 2017:
The Chachapoyas, the “Warriors of the Clouds,” were a people that lived in the northern elevations of Peru, and put up a long-running struggle against the Inca Empire, which they eventually lost. Traditional tales told to the first Spanish conquerors of the New World about a century after their final defeat held that the Inca forcibly relocated the Chachapoyas to the corners of the massive empire, so they could never again pose a threat.