Stone Age “Chewing Gum” Yields 5,700-year-old Human Genome and Oral Microbiome Thousands of years ago in what is now Denmark a young Neolithic woman chewed Thousands of years ago in what is now Denmark a young Neolithic woman chewed on a birch pitch.DNA analysis of this prehistoric "chewing gum" has now revealed, in remarkable detail, … In this study, Danish scientists extracted a complete human DNA sample from a 5700-year-old piece of chewed birch pitch from Denmark. by Tibi Puiu. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. What a 5,700-Year-Old Piece of Gum Reveals About Its Chewer From a wad of pitch less than an inch long, researchers have painted a detailed portrait of … 5,700-year-old 'Chewing Gum' Helps Recreate Image of Its Consumer. Photos: Ancient finds. The chewed bark contained ancient DNA from a hunter-gatherer woman. Chewing on birch pitch would have made it pliable again for using on tools. The entire genome of a female human who lived in Denmark 5,700 years ago was mapped from a piece of birch pitch that she chewed. More than 5700 years ago, a girl spat out a wad of chewing gum at what is now an archaeological site in Denmark. “This sample had lots of microbial DNA preserved as well.”. Flaked stone tools and T-shaped antler axes gave way to polished flint artifacts, pottery and domesticated plants and animals. The discarded gum yielded a surprising amount of information about its 5,700-year-old chewer. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Stone Age chewing gum holds clues to the life of a young girl who lived 5,700 years ago. Give a Gift. But the find was also made possible by the conditions at the site, named Syltholm, on an island in southern Denmark, where thick mud has perfectly preserved a wide range of unique Stone Age artifacts. “This is a snapshot of a real person in real time,” said Natalija Kashuba, an archaeologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, who also studies birch pitch samples but was not involved in the latest research. December 20, 2019-- A complete human genome, oral microbes, and human pathogens were retrieved from a 5,700-year-old type of "chewing gum," untapping a new source of ancient DNA and shedding light on the person who chewed it, according to research published on … Some of the first chewing gums, made of birch tar and other natural substances, have been preserved for thousands of years, including a 5,700-year-old … This, they say, is the very first time a complete ancient … The gum’s water-resistant properties helped to preserve the DNA within, as did its mild antiseptic properties which helped to prevent microbial decay. For the wealth of information the small piece of pitch provides, it raises just as many questions, Dr. Kashuba said. She was a female, and while her age is unknown, she may have been a child considering similar birch pitch gums of the era often feature the imprints of children’s teeth. Her genes suggest she likely had a striking combination of dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes. Smithsonian Institution. Ancient examples of such pathogens could help scientists reconstruct the origins of certain diseases and track their evolution over time, including what factors might conspire to make them more dangerous. A 5,700-year-old type of “chewing gum” made from birch pitch was found during archaeological excavations at Syltholm, southern Denmark. “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. Scientists found that the person who chewed the gum … When researchers analyzed human DNA preserved in the 5,700-year-old birch pitch, they found that the individual who chewed on it was a female, who was more closely related to hunter-gatherers from continental Europe than those from central Scandinavia. The 5,700-year-old chewing gum was so well-preserved that scientists have been able to reconstruct the entire genome of the Neolithic girl who chewed it. Birch pitch, made by heating the tree’s bark, was commonly used across Scandinavia as a prehistoric glue for attaching stone tools to handles. Natalija Kashuba, an archaeologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues have also extracted human DNA from ancient birch gum, from several individuals at a 10,000-year-old site on Sweden’s west coast. Presumably not long before discarding the gum, the woman feasted on hazel nuts and duck, which left their own DNA sequences behind. Carbon dating showed the gum to be about 5,700 years old, meaning the chewer lived around when humans stopped hunting and gathering and started farming and domesticating animals. The individual was part of a world that was constantly changing as groups migrated across the northern regions of Europe. Artistic reconstruction of Lola. They named her Lola. A Full Genome From 5,700-Year-Old 'Chewing Gum' Gives Insights Into Prehistoric Lives Recovered from an ancient settlement, this hardened chunk of tree bark carries the DNA of the person who chewed it — and evidence of her meals. Stone Age “chewing gum” yields 5,700-year-old human genome and oral microbiome Experts of the University of Copenhagen have been able to extract a complete human genome from a “chewing gum” which is thousands of years Most were run-of-the-mill microflora like those still found in most human mouths. “That changes the game,” Dr. Kashuba said. Carelessly discarded chewing gum is a nuisance when fresh, but it might become a scientific treasure—if it sticks around long enough. Scientists suspect several reasons why people would have chewed it: to make it malleable once again after it cooled, to ease toothaches because it’s mildly antiseptic, to clean teeth, to ease hunger pains, or simply because they enjoyed it. Additional archaeological work has shown that the era was one of transition. Gum is generally a one and done piece of entertainment. 5,700-year-old 'Chewing Gum' Helps Recreate Image of Its Consumer Danish scientists have managed to extract a complete human DNA sample from a piece of birch pitch more than 5,000 years old, used as a kind of chewing gum, a study revealed Tuesday. THE entire genetic code of a 5,700-year-old human has been extracted from little more than a piece of ancient "chewing gum". No human remains have yet been found at Syltholm—unless you count the tiny strands of DNA preserved in the ancient gum Schroeder and colleagues described today in Nature Communications. DNA from Stone Age ‘chewing gum’ tells an incredible story For the first time, scientists used 5,700-year-old saliva to sequence the complete human genome of … “It’s really interesting that we can start working on this material, because there’s a lot of it scattered around Scandinavia from the Stone Age to the Iron Age,” she says, adding that gums may survive wherever birches were prevalent—including eastward toward Russia, where one wave of Scandinavian migration is thought to have originated. (Theis Jensen) An ancient wad of chewing gum has yielded a complete human genome, enough information for researchers to reconstruct the visage of … The ancient birch gum in Scandinavia preserved enough DNA to reconstruct the full human genome of its ancient chewer, identify the microbes that lived in her mouth, and even reveal the menu of a prehistoric meal. 5700-year-old chewing might have uncovered some incredible insights into humans ☹️ 2010s was the decade the internet lost its joy How the must-have email client SuperHuman uses video game design to make work feel like gaming ~ Brianne Kimmel newsletter is great and well worth signing up to Epstein-Barr virus, which more than 90 percent of living humans carry, was also present in the woman’s mouth. Scientists have successfully extracted a complete human genome from a 5,700-year-old piece of "chewing gum" that was discovered in southern Denmark. “We may expect this process, especially at this late stage of the Mesolithic, to have been complex with different groups, from south, west or even east, moving at different times and sometimes intermingling while perhaps other times staying isolated,” Jan Storå, an osteoarchaeologist at Stockholm University, says via email. Researchers uncovered the wad of gum last year from the site of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link tunnel. Ancient DNA samples always include microbial genes, but they are typically from the environment. 5,700-year-old "chewing Gum" Found In Denmark, Holds Key To Lives Of Ancient People The gum is believed to be 5,700-years-old and was reportedly chewed by a female. DNA preserved in 5,700 years old chewing gum reveals what one ancient woman may have looked like. Planned construction of the underwater tunnel, which will connect the Danish island of Lolland with the German island of Fehrman, has forced archaeologists to rush to collect artifacts and fossil evidence before they are lost forever. Unless you like chewing gum. “The ‘lack’ of Neolithic farmer gene flow, at this date, is very interesting,” adds Storå, who wasn’t involved in the research. When they spat the gum out, the same antiseptic properties helped preserve the DNA in their saliva. Continue Some included bacteria known to cause gum disease, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis. London: For the first time, researchers have extracted an entire ancient human genome from a sample other than bones, in a gum chewed by a 5,700-year-old female, unearthing details about the diet and oral microbes of stone age people. The fact that the discarded artifact survived to reveal so much information about the past isn’t entirely due to luck, Kashuba says. Researchers have extracted a complete ancient human genome from birch pitch, a 5,700-year-old type of ancient “chewing gum,” found during excavations on Lolland, Denmark. So even as late as 5,700 years ago, when other parts of Europe like Germany already had farming populations with this other type of ancestry present, she still looked like essentially western hunter-gatherers, like people looked in the thousands of years before then,” Schroeder says. DNA of 5700-year-old chewing gum recreates photo of woman who chewed it Researchers have different theories about the use of this "chewing gum" including its use as glue to make tools, to help in toothaches, to suppress hunger, or just for no specific purpose like today. What a 5,700-Year-Old Wad of Chewed Gum Reveals About Ancient People and Their Bacteria Scientists dig into the diet, health and history of Danish hunter-gatherers in a … “It’s as well-preserved as some of the best petrous [skull] bones that we’ve analyzed, and they are kind of the holy grail when it comes to ancient DNA preservation.”. What a 5,700-Year-Old Wad of Chewed Gum Reveals About Ancient People and Their Bacteria. Modern chewing gums, which often contain polyethylene plastic, could stick around for tens or even hundreds of years, and perhaps much longer in the right conditions. For archaeologists, the sticky stuff’s longevity can help piece together the lives of ancient peoples who masticated on the chewy tar. It surprised us,” says co-author Hannes Schroeder, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. A 5,700-year-old type of “chewing gum” made from birch pitch was found during archaeological excavations at Syltholm, southern Denmark. Excavations began at the site in 2012 in preparation for the construction of a tunnel, affording the Museum Lolland-Falster a unique chance for archaeological field work. Photo: University of Copenhagen via AFP Scientists are unable to glean an individual’s age from the DNA stored in the sample. Advertising Notice or The birch pitch sample also had traces of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria and Epstein-Barr virus, which provide clues to Lola’s health. But a recent finding has gone beyond this paradigm when DNA could be extracted from a 5,700 years old chewing gum of birch pitch. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in extracting a complete human genome from a thousands-of-years old “chewing gum”. No known physical remains of the woman in question exist. 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