DailyDirt: Studying Our Ancient Ancestors
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Genetic testing is becoming more and more common now. The costs have come down dramatically in a very short time, but our methods of interpreting the results could still stand to mature a bit. DNA is everywhere, and some of the most interesting DNA is from ancient remains that have been preserved naturally in glaciers or by mummifying techniques practiced by ancient Egyptians. We may never get a clear picture of prehistoric people, but some DNA evidence could help clear up a few mysteries (or start some strange protests?).
- A 5,000-year-old glacier mummy has provided scientists with samples of 5,000-year-old human red blood cells. This discovery comes from the very aptly named Institute for Mummies and the Iceman — which also sounds like an awesome band. [url]
- Analyzing the DNA of King Tutankhamun (aka King Tut) wasn’t a simple lab procedure. Foreigners trying to test samples have been denied access due to various reasons (some explained, some not), so an all-Egyptian team of researchers analyzed King Tut’s DNA in 2008. However, concerns of DNA contamination persist, even though samples of mummified cat DNA have been successfully obtained using similar techniques without contamination. [url]
- Genetic analysis of some prehistoric Europeans show that all Europeans came from a “founding population” about 37,000 years ago. Since then, there have been at least two population turnovers, but this narrative is based on just dozens of DNA samples that have only recently been extracted from ancient bone remains. [url]
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