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DNA traces identify the owner of a 20,000-year-old necklace

DNA traces identify the owner of a 20,000-year-old necklace

Scientists have used a new DNA extraction method to identify the owner of an elk tooth that was carved into a necklace some 20,000 years ago.

This new technology developed by German researchers makes it possible to isolate DNA found in skin cells, in sweat or in other body fluids, which can be absorbed by some porous materials, including bones and teeth, reports Reuters.

The necklace, found in a cave in Siberia, was carefully handled with gloves, in particular, to prevent contamination with modern DNA.

Using this method, the scientists were able to determine that the object belonged to a Stone Age woman associated with hunter-gatherers who allegedly lived in caves at the foot of the Altai Mountains, a mountain range in Russia.

The researchers documented their discovery in a study published in the journal Nature.

“This study opens up new possibilities for reconstructing the role of individuals in the past according to their gender and ancestry,” said the paper’s lead researcher, molecular biologist Elena Essel, in an interview with Reuters.

Other worn artifacts, such as jewelry, can be studied using this method to learn more about their past.

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