London:Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have succeeded in extracting a complete human genome from 5, 823 – year-old type of “chewing gum”, allowing them to recreate the image of its user and find clues to her dietary habits.
Based on the ancient human genome, the researchers could tell that the “chewing gum” made from birch pitch was chewed by a woman. She was genetically more closely related to hunter-gatherers from the mainland Europe than to those who lived in central Scandinavia at that time, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. They also found that she probably had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes.
“It’s amazing to have retrieved a complete ancient human genome from anything other than bone,” said lead researcher Hannes Schroeder , Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen.
The birch pitch was found during archaeological excavations at Syltholm on the island of Lolland, Denmark. The researchers also identified traces of plant and animal DNA in the pitch – specifically hazelnuts and duck – which may have been part of the individual’s diet. “Our ancestors lived in a different environment and had a different lifestyle and diet. It’s, therefore, interesting to find how this is reflected in their microbiome, ”said Schroeder.
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