Category Archives: Ancient DNA

The Coldest of the Cold Cases: Using DNA to Identify Century-Old Remains

DNA_TestingIn a dusty, seemingly empty field 60 miles east of L.A., Dr. Alexis Gray, a forensic anthropologist from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department, points to a chain-link fence far in the distance, the mountains rising beyond in the hazy heat. “There are 7,000 people between us and that next fence there,” she says. For almost a decade, her job has been to confirm the identification of every single one of them.

Ancient Mummies Prove Heart Disease Is as Old as We Are

OtziHeart disease is thought to be a modern-day ailment, but it turns out that the arteries of ancient men and women weren’t in great shape either. Researchers have found evidence of atherosclerosis in a number of ancient mummies from around the world. Atherosclerosis is hardening of the arteries that lead to the heart caused by a buildup of plaque.

King Richard 3D image on display

King Richard 3DA replica of the skeleton of King Richard III (shown), created using 3D printing, has gone on display in a new visitor’s centre on the site where his remains were discovered in Leicester. The centre, opening on 26 July, tells the story of his rise to power, his death in battle and the discovery of his bones

Natural Trap Cave reopened to scientists

Natural-Trap-Cave-reopened-to-scientistsCHEYENNE, Wyo., July 24 (UPI) –The entrance of Wyoming’s Natural Trap Cave is just 15 feet long and 12 feet wide, big enough to let in sunlight and a few scientists. But as visitors quickly find out, that bit of sunlight illuminates an expansive cavern beneath — 85 feet deep and 120 feet wide.

Ancient finds from Crossrail scheme

The finds are at the site of London’s 14th century Black Death burial ground in Charterhouse Square in the City of London.Crossrail project
The courtyard is believed to have led to a 15th century chapel or meat kitchen and has been unearthed by more than 90 local volunteers working alongside archaeologists.

Wyoming cave with thousands of fossils to be re-opened to scientists for first time since 1970s

Natural Trap CaveCHEYENNE, Wyo. – For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are about to revisit one of North America’s most remarkable troves of late Pleistocene fossils: The bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

Oetzi The Tyrolean Iceman’s ‘Non-Human’ DNA

OetziMuch of what we know about Öetzi – the ‘Tyrolean Iceman’ – such as what he looked like and that he suffered from lactose intolerance, stems from a tiny bone sample which allowed the decoding of his genetic make-up.
A team of scientists have examined the part of the sample consisting of non-human DNA. In the DNA mixture, they detected a sizeable presence of a particular bacterium: Treponema denticola, an opportunistic pathogen involved in the development of periodontitis. The finding supports the computer tomography based diagnosis that the Iceman suffered from periodontitis.

Present-Day Tibetans Inherited Genetic Gifts from Paleolithic-Era Ancestors

TibetanPlateauThe world had been awash in news about how we can see the evidence in our DNA of ancient humans mating with Neanderthals and their close relatives, the Denisovans. Now in a new study out in the journal Nature, a group of researchers has found the strongest evidence to date that this mating mattered.
Modern Tibetans are incredibly well adapted to the harsh environment of the Tibetan plateau. This place is cold, doesn’t have a lot of resources and has about 40% lower levels of oxygen than at sea level. It turns out that a big reason Tibetans do so well compared to everyone else is because of a version of the EPAS1 gene their ancestors got from the now extinct Denisovans. Most every Tibetan who is well adapted to this environment has the Denisovan version of the EPAS1 gene.

DNA testing eyed for graves exhumed from historic Waco cemetery

Lori BakerThe committee tasked with planning the reburial of some 300 human remains unearthed from the old First Street Cemetery are hoping to enlist DNA technology in a quest to identify them.

Ancient Gene Aids Tibetans With High Altitude

TibetanTibetans living on the “roof of the world” can thank an extinct human relative for providing a gene that helps them adapt to the high altitude, a study suggests.

Boot-wearing high-status Saxon with infected legs among 10 skeletons found in Lincoln

Lincoln Castle BodiesA high-status Saxon suffering from severe infection to his legs, wrapped in linen and reburied in a church wall, could undergo DNA tests alongside a stabbed teenager as part of the £22 million refurbishment of the medieval Lincoln Castle.

Climate forced ancient Peruvians to migrate

Climate change in PeruDNA testing of Peruvian mummies has revealed how climate change led to the forced migrations of the ancient people of the Central Andes.
The research, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows these migrations led to an eventual genetic homogenisation of the highland and coastal people of southern Peru.

First migration of farmers revealed by ancient human DNA

ancient farmersThe clues of the origins of modern society have been revealed through research conducted by LJMU’s Lecturer in Forensic Anthropology, Dr Eva Fernández-Domínguez, together with co-authors from four Spanish institutions, who have analysed the ancient human DNA of the first Near Eastern farmers.

Scientists plan DNA tests on Peru’s “Juanita” mummy

Juanita MummyScientists are hoping to learn more about the origins of Peru’s famous “Mummy Juanita” through DNA testing using the stem cells stored in the subject’s umbilical cord.

Ancient Skeleton Of Teenage Girl, ‘Naia,’ Sheds Light On First Americans

NAIAThe divers found her on a ledge, her skull at rest on an arm bone. Ribs and a broken pelvis lay nearby. She was only 15 years old when she wandered into the cave, perhaps in search of water in an era when the Yucatan was parched. In the darkness she must not have seen the enormous pit looming in front of her.