Researchers in Denmark have extracted the DNA of a 5,700-year-old woman - by analyzing her chewing gum.
Technically it's a lump of Birch pitch, a substance that was used as a glue in the Stone Age but would also be chewed like gum.
“It is very exciting to be able to extract a full human genome from anything other than bone,’’ said Hannes Schroeder, an archaeologist at the University of Copenhagen, who led the research. “This sample had lots of microbial DNA preserved as well.”
Scientists say the woman, dubbed "Lola", likely had dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes. The DNA also holds information about what she ate (hazelnuts and duck) and what kind of bacteria and viruses were carried during that time.
“This is a snapshot of a real person in real time,” said Natalija Kashuba, an archaeologist at Uppsala University in Sweden. “It’s as close as we’ll ever come to standing face to face with an individual from the Stone Age of Scandinavia.”
What could someone learn from analyzing your chewing gum?
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Photo: Getty Images