Category Archives: Ancient DNA

The Teeth of Early Neanderthals May Indicate the Species’ Lineage Is Older Than Thought

In a cave called the ‘pit of bones,’ up in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain, a collection of 430,000-year-old teeth are curiously smaller than might be expected for the skulls they were found with. The anomaly has one scientist suggesting that the lineages of modern humans and Neanderthals split some 800,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than genetic studies have estimated.

Oldest Scandinavian human DNA found in ancient chewing gum

The first humans who settled in Scandinavia more than 10,000 years ago left their DNA behind in ancient chewing gum, masticated lumps made from birch bark pitch. This is shown in a new study conducted at Stockholm University and published in Communications Biology.

Researchers from Europe and the United Kingdom have successfully used DNA analysis to determine the identity of 15 ancient skeletons uncovered in 2011.

Researchers from Europe and the United Kingdom have successfully used DNA analysis to determine the identity of 15 ancient skeletons uncovered in 2011.
In a study featured in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, archeologists from several different organizations have worked together to examine 5,000-year-old human remains that were unearthed near the city of Koszyce in Poland.

DNA Reveals Ancient Mass Grave Of Massacred Women And Children Were From Same Family

In 2011, archaeologists working in Poland made a grizzly discovery. A mass grave of 15 individuals—mostly women and children—that had been executed during a massacre. Scientists have now discovered that these 5,000-year-old murder victims were part of the same, extended family—and had been buried with great care, with mothers placed next to their children, and siblings by each others side.

Blackfeet man’s DNA oldest found in Americas, testing company says

For Crawford, the company traced his line back 55 generations with a 99 percent accuracy rate. That’s rare because the ancestry often is clouded that far back, according to the company.
It was, they told him, like finding Bigfoot, it was so unlikely.

Jaw from a mysterious human species shows early embrace of the high life

Four decades ago, a monk came to pray at a limestone cave two miles above sea level in the Tibetan Plateau. There the monk found half of a human mandible. He took the bone from the cave, and his village gave it to scientists working in the area, who stored the jawbone in an archaeological collection.
In 2010, archaeologists began studying the fossil and made a remarkable discovery: This high-altitude jaw is not like yours or mine. Proteins pried out of its ancient teeth revealed the mandible belonged to a Denisovan, an extinct human species related to Neanderthals.

DNA reveals megalithic tombs were family graves

DNA testing of teeth found in megalithic tombs older than the pyramids has revealed how family members as much as 12 generations apart were buried together by our Stone Age ancestors.
A new international study confirmed for the first time through genetic analysis that megalithic tombs, which have always been shrouded in mystery, contain many closely related individuals.

Italians try to crack Leonardo da Vinci DNA code with lock of hair

Two Italian experts are set to perform a DNA test on a lock of hair that they say might have belonged to Leonardo da Vinci.

A simple approach to dating bones

In the late 1990s, as an anthropology PhD student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Ann Ross travelled to Bosnia to help identify casualties of war. In her current role as head of the Human Identification and Forensic Analysis Laboratory at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, she does much the same for the people of her state. Her lab — a refurbished engineering space measuring about 90 square metres — has a contract with the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which means that when a human skeleton is recovered, it is her job to determine what happened. The lab has enough tables for four skeletons. Most days, Ross says, all the tables are occupied: her lab is revisiting each of the state’s 130-odd cold cases, many dating back decades, to see whether modern forensic science can shed light on what happened.

Is Shakespeare’s DNA Hiding in the Folger Library’s Vault?

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s underground storage facility stretches a full block beneath the building, protected by a nine-inch-thick steel bank-vault door. It houses about 260,000 historically significant books, along with manuscripts, documents, and even costumes saved from 19th-century productions. But could the Capitol Hill research library—the largest collection devoted to the Bard in the world—also contain, quite literally, Shakespeare himself?

Written in the Bones

Might it be the humble pelvis that makes us human, and not the brain? Do butterfly hybrids mean evolutionary trees should look more like networks? What can deer mice teach us about genetics and inheritance? And what’s up with all the human bones at Roopkund Lake?
A quartet of Harvard doctoral students gave a glimpse of the future of evolutionary inquiry Thursday evening, describing the cutting-edge tools they’ve become adept at wielding to investigate conundrums that get to the heart of some of the most fundamental questions of our time: how we became human, what happened in our past, and how animals slowly become different.

Turkey launches first anthropology DNA laboratory

Turkey has launched its first “ancient DNA laboratory” which will conduct scientific research on mummified remains of Anatolian civilizations dating back 10,000-15,000 years.
The molecular anthropology laboratory at Hacettepe University (HU) in Turkey’s capital Ankara will examine hereditary and bacterial diseases of ancient humans and animals.

Stonehenge: DNA reveals origin of builders

The ancestors of the people who built Stonehenge travelled west across the Mediterranean before reaching Britain, a study has shown.
Researchers compared DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains found across Britain with that of people alive at the same time in Europe.

Bones discovered in an island cave may be a new human species

Please welcome a possible new member to our band of upright apes: Homo luzonensis, whose teeth and bones were discovered in a cave on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The remains represent a new species, scientists concluded in a report published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

A History of the Iberian Peninsula, as Told by Its Skeletons

For thousands of years, the Iberian Peninsula — home now to Spain and Portugal — has served as a crossroads.
Phoenicians from the Near East built trading ports there 3,000 years ago, and Romans conquered the region around 200 B.C. Muslim armies sailed from North Africa and took control of Iberia in the 8th century A.D. Some three centuries later, they began losing territory to Christian states.