For the first time, the genome of an ancient man has been analyzed, providing clues about what humans were up to 4,000 years ago. As reported in Nature, Danish researchers were able to study the preserved swatch of a Greenlander’s hair that had been first excavated in 1986–suspected to have been discarded after a trim.
From just this small sample sealed in hair keratin, scientists obtained clues about the way he looked and his susceptibility to certain diseases. For example, they expect he had thick hair, brown eyes, dry earwax, and was at risk for baldness. By employing advanced DNA sequencing technology, the hair provides us a more revealing glimpse into our past than ever before possible. But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this research is that we have new evidence for a migration of ancient humans about 5,500 years ago from Siberia to Greenland. Check out the editor’s summary here and listen to the Nature Podcast for details.
I have a hunch we’ll be hearing a lot more about the DNA of much older humans very soon…
Several readers have emailed me to comment on Michael Steele’s ummmm…imaginative explanations of both global ‘cooling‘ and Greenland:
“We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.”
You want me to respond to that gibberish? Seriously? The man got the history of Greenland wrong… need I really wax poetic on the rest? It’s not a question of ‘what this planet is all about‘, but rather what planet is the RNC Chairman on?
My take is that I’m embarrassed for the Republicans. No, I may not always agree with their policies, but in terms of who is representing their image right now, surely they can do so much better…