Hair DNA reveals ancient extinct humans
Scientists have managed to decode the complete genome of an ancient extinct human from Greenland for the first time using a strand of hair 4,000 years old.
DNA from a strand of 4,000-year-old human hair has revealed an astonishing insight into the people who once lived in Greenland, after scientists have been able to decode the complete genome of an ancient human for the first time.
The extinct Saqqaq culture were the first known inhabitants of Greenland and lived on the west coast between 4,750 and 2,500 years ago.
They are well known from archaeological sites, excavated in the late 1980s at Qeqertasussuk in Disko Bay, where small stone tools and bone harpoons have been found. There were human remains too, including a large clump of human hair.
But what the people looked like or where they came from were all a mystery.
Because the hair was found in the permafrost, it had been very well preserved; scientists already know from studying the remains of woolly mammoths that hair is a particularly good source of uncontaminated DNA.
Posted by ryaner
10th February 2010ce