as a weekly practice I listen to npr and do a little sketch on one of the stories. take a look, you can click on the illustration to make it bigger!

Friday, May 30, 2008

ancient clump reveals greenland eskimos' roots.

A 3,000-year-old clump of human hair found frozen in Greenland may have solved a scientific mystery: Where did all the ancient Eskimos come from? The ancient clump of hair looks like something you'd sweep off a barbershop floor. "It's kind of brown, got a bit of dirt in it, a bit of twigs, but ... it looks [in] remarkably good condition," says biologist Thomas Gilbert of the University of Copenhagen.

University of Copenhagen researchers had spent months in Greenland trying to find human remains, with no success. They then learned of this hair sample, which was discovered in the 1980s in Disko Bay, in western Greenland, and was being kept in a museum collection.

And the hair yielded something extremely rare — the DNA of some of the earliest humans to live in the Arctic. By studying that DNA, researchers say they've been able to answer a longstanding question: Are modern Eskimos descended from ancient Native Americans, or did they come from somewhere else? The answer, according to a new study published in the current issue of the journal Science, is somewhere else — probably eastern Asia.

-excerpt from NPR

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