Category Archives: Ancient DNA

Exclusive: Royal Burial in Ancient Canaan May Shed New Light on Biblical City

An undisturbed elite tomb discovered in ancient Armageddon is replete with gold offerings—and the promise of unlocking secrets with DNA analysis.

DNA sheds light on settlement of Pacific

A study of ancient DNA has shed light on the epic journeys that led to the settlement of the Pacific by humans.

Ancient DNA Tells Tales of Humans’ Migratory History

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.

Piecing together a Cape Cod pirate mystery

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.

Britain’s Dark-Skinned, Blue-Eyed Ancestor Explained

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.

Scientists discover the oldest human fossils outside Africa

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.

DNA solves the mystery of how these mummies were related

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.

Lost Native American Ancestor Revealed in Ancient Child’s DNA

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.

The 5 Most Fascinating Skeletons Of 2017

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:

DNA Analysis Finds Descendants of ‘Warriors of the Clouds’ in Peru

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.

First genetic map of Ireland going back to ancient times revealed

The next time a Cork man tells you he’s from the People’s Republic, or a Kerryman declares that he is from the Kingdom and is, therefore, special, pay attention. They may, in fact, have a point.
The first genetic map of the people of all parts of Ireland carried out by a team of geneticists and genealogists shows there are subtle DNA differences between people across the island.

In Easter Island DNA, Evidence of Genetic Loneliness

A small green dot lost in the vastness of the southeastern Pacific Ocean, Easter Island has long enchanted archaeologists and the public. Hundreds of giant stone figures, or Moai, that decorate the volcanic island remain a source of fascination.
One of the greatest mysteries about Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, concerns the identity of its earliest inhabitants, the architects of the stoic statues. Did they have genetic ties to natives on the South American land mass thousands of miles away, or were their origins solely in the Pacific islands to the west?

New Clues to How Neanderthal Genes Affect Your Health

If your arthritis is bad today or you’re slathering on aloe for an early autumn sunburn, Neanderthals may be partly to blame.
Scientists announced today the second complete, high-quality sequencing of a Neanderthal genome, made using the 52,000-year-old bones of a female found in the Vindija cave in Croatia.
Together with the genomes from another Neanderthal woman and a host of modern humans, a suite of analyses is yielding new clues about how DNA from Neanderthals contributed to our genetic makeup and might still be affecting us today.

Ancient human DNA in sub-Saharan Africa lifts veil on prehistory

The first large-scale study of ancient human DNA from sub-Saharan Africa opens a long-awaited window into the identity of prehistoric populations in the region and how they moved around and replaced one another over the past 8,000 years.
The findings, published Sept. 21 in Cell by an international research team led by Harvard Medical School, answer several longstanding mysteries and uncover surprising details about sub-Saharan African ancestry—including genetic adaptations for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and the first glimpses of population distribution before farmers and animal herders swept across the continent about 3,000 years ago.

Bones attributed to St Peter found by chance in 1,000-year-old church in Rome

Bones attributed to St Peter have been found by chance in a church in Rome during routine restoration work, 2,000 years after the apostle’s death.
The relics of the saint, who is regarded as the first Pope, were found in clay pots in the 1,000-year-old Church of Santa Maria in Cappella in the district of Trastevere, a medieval warren of cobbled lanes on the banks of the Tiber River.
The bones were discovered when a worker lifted up a large marble slab near the medieval altar of the church, which has been closed to the public for 35 years because of structural problems.