This woman’s chewing gum 5,700 years ago has been analyzed. And he tells us a lot



Champollion who deciphers hieroglyphs, Howard Carter who unearths Tutankhamun’s tomb… Ancient history and prehistory have long provided two main tools for their study: period texts and / or archaeological remains. But advances in genetics have added a whole new set of information available to specialists, and DNA is now enabling us to make discoveries that hitherto were impossible to imagine.

To better understand Neanderthals and the other cousins ​​of humanity, to determine the way of life of people who have died for thousands of years, or even to reconstruct their appearance, the tools of modern science open doors that have hitherto been well locked. A new step could well be taken with the work carried out by a Danish multidisciplinary team, which publishes its results this Tuesday in the journal “Nature Communications”. These researchers at the Globe Institute in Copenhagen have indeed succeeded in sequencing the DNA of a woman who has died 5,700 years without having any bone, not even a molar tooth.

Birch tar, the chewing gum of prehistoric times

Birch tar was a bit like the miracle glue of our distant ancestors. Obtained by heating the bark of the tree, this substance solidifies on cooling. We find traces of its use until the Middle Pleistocene, around 200,000 years ago, which means that Homo Sapiens was not the only one to have discovered it: Neanderthal,

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