Scientists from the University of Copenhagen were able to obtain human DNA from a piece of resin aged 5.7 thousand years, found during archaeological excavations in the town of Syltholm in southern Denmark.
|The ancient blue-eyed hunter-gatherer was identified by chewing gum from birch tar|
Ancient dna newsIn the past, this material was used as gum by people living in the areas of present-day Europe. The results of a study of a piece of resin carried out by Danish scientists have been published in the British scientific journal Nature Communications.
Thanks to the DNA sample, the scientists produced a portrait of a woman who lived in the Neolithic Age (10,000 to 4,500 BC). Researchers believe that she had a gum disease, so she chewed on a piece of birch resin that contains natural antiseptic betulin. At that time, this material was also used as glue.
"It's unbelievable that we were able to get full human DNA from something other than bone," said project manager Hannes Schröder in a press release from the university.
Ancient dna analysisAccording to scientists, the prehistoric woman had dark skin and hair and her eyes were blue. It was more like the hunter-gatherers who inhabited the mainland Europe at that time than the people who lived in central Scandinavia at that time.
Researchers also found traces of mononucleosis, an acute infectious disease, in birch gum. Scientists hope that this will help to better understand the development of diseases in humans. "It can help to better understand the spread of disease [in the past]," said Schröder.
It also turned out that the ancient girl was not a vegetarian, and that there were still traces of ducks and nuts in the resin.
They also discovered that she had many microorganisms in her mouth, almost exactly the same as those living in the mouth of modern people.