Category Archives: Ancient DNA

DNA traces origins of Iceman’s ragtag wardrobe

Otzi's duds…When Oetzi was discovered in 1991, famously well preserved in the ice of the Italian Alps, this type of ancient DNA analysis was impossible.
“25 years ago, the study of ancient DNA was in its infancy,” Mr O’Sullivan told BBC News. “It would not have been possible to infer, to the same extent, the species of origin or how domesticated the leathers were…”

Richard III’s missing teeth in skull may prove he DIDN’T kill Tower of London princes

lost BoysInnocent: New evidence blows a major hole in the story of Richard III and the princes in the Tower
It is one of the most dramatic and controversial tales in British history – how two young princes were murdered by their dastardly uncle so he could claim the throne for himself.

Blood of King Albert I identified after 80 years

Tree Leaves RelicThe death of King Albert I of Belgium in 1934 — officially a climbing accident — still fuels speculation. Forensic geneticist Maarten Larmuseau and his colleagues at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium), have now compared DNA from blood found on the scene in 1934 to that of two distant relatives. Their analysis confirms that the blood really is that of Albert I. This conclusion is at odds with several conspiracy theories about the king’s death.

First farmers had diverse origins, DNA shows

Zagros MountainsResearchers compared the genomes of ancient Neolithic skeletons from across the Middle East, where farming began.
The results shed light on a debate over whether farming spread out from a single source in the region, or whether multiple farmer groups spread their technology across Eurasia.

Russian scientists dissect ancient organs from 800-year-old mummy

SalekhardThe child, aged around six or seven, was found close to the town of Salekhard. Researchers took samples of tissue and probed the boy’s internal organs.
It is hoped these will reveal how people lived at the time, possibly their diet. Experts have started establishing the boy’s DNA and hunting for descendants

Today’s technology to uncover yesterday’s secrets at an early settler’s burial ground at Milton

Milton Burial GroundThe group, the Tokomairiro Project 60 research team, is undergoing a public submission process to enable the digging-up of 20-30 skeletons from St John’s Burial Ground, amid farmland on Milton’s Back Rd.

Humanity plagued by single strain of bacteria

Yersinia PestisHistorians and scientists alike have long wondered whether the various disease pandemics that have plagued humanity since the sixth century shared a common cause.
Ancient DNA samples and historical climate patterns all pointed to the theory that a single, super-resilient germ managed to survive through the ages. But the final genetic piece in the puzzle was missing – until now.

New DNA study confirms ancient Aborigines were the First Australians

mungo_man_crop_1920The question of whether Aboriginal People were the First Australians may be unanimously accepted today but research published back in 2001 suggested the contrary.
A
new study out this week shows how we re-examined the research and our results put an end to that controversy.

DNA database: Scientists want a piece of you to help solve a mystery or two

Centre for Ancient DNAAustralians have been called upon to donate their DNA and help establish the country’s first historical DNA database, providing researchers with a crucial tool for solving wartime mysteries – some which date back 100 years.
To be managed by the Centre for Ancient DNA at Adelaide University, the database will provide scientists and historians with a snapshot of the genetic makeup of the Australian population in the early 1900s. Currently, nothing like it exists.

First DNA from ancient Phoenician shows Europe ancestry

Sabratha amphitheaterMIAMI: The first DNA analysis of 2,500-year-old remains from one of the great early civilizations of the Middle East, the Phoenicians, has shown the man had European heritage, researchers said Wednesday.
The mitochondrial DNA — or genetic information from his mother’s side — came from a man known as “Young Man of Byrsa” or “Ariche,” whose remains were uncovered in the Tunisian city of Carthage.

Archaeologists test DNA from bones of ancient marquis

DNA imageArchaeologists are using bones unearthed from the 2,000-year-old tomb of Haihunhou, the Marquis of Haihun, to conduct DNA analysis.
The burial site in Nanchang in east China’s Jiangxi Province is the best preserved tomb from the Western Han Period (206 BC-24 AD) ever found in China.

Eske Willerslev Is Rewriting History With DNA

Dr. Willerslev…”As the director of the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, Dr. Willerslev uses ancient DNA to reconstruct the past 50,000 years of human history. The findings have enriched our understanding of prehistory, shedding light on human development with evidence that can’t be found in pottery shards or studies of living cultures…”

The unsolved enigma of early human migration

Antique world mapIt can be hard enough to remember who your second cousin once removed is. So it’s not surprising that tracing back the family tree to work out what the earliest humans were up to hundreds of thousands of years ago is quite a challenge.
“Everyone’s looking for the earliest evidence for modern humans everywhere,” says Professor Sue O’Connor, an archaeologist at ANU. “There is quite a lot of research effort focused on this.”

Humans are still evolving: Huge DNA study tracks how the British have changed since the Romans were in charge

DNA RomeWhile we may not be sprouting wings, gills or an extra pair of legs any time soon, a new study has shown that human evolution is continuing to grind away.
New genetic analysis has revealed the traces of human evolution in action, showing how the British population has subtly changed since Roman rule, 2,000 years ago.

Tooth Plaque May Hold Clues About Ancient Life

ancient teethA nuisance to dentists is now a boon for archaeologists. Researchers have successfully sequenced DNA from fossilized plaque on 700-year-old teeth.
Solidified plaque—called calculus, tartar, or that chalky stuff the dentist scrapes off—contains a whopping 25 times more DNA than ancient tooth or bone. And, in a paper published Wednesday in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Christina Warinner and colleagues detail how they‘ve used plaque in research, a process that could catch on as a way to gather otherwise unobtainable information about the ancient world.