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Prehistoric Human Hair Found Buried In Ice For 4,000 Years Reveals Secrets

Discover Magazine for January 2011 reported some exciting genetic findings which were presented by Jill Neimark.

A clump of prehistoric human hair was found encased in ice for 4,000 years and was studied by the University of Copenhagen's Eske Willerslev.  Willerslev was the first researcher to sequence and ancient human genome.

The hair, according to Discover, was dug up in 1986 in Qeqetasussuk, Greenland.  This clump of hair offered lots of secrets about the human race.

(Image courtesy of Haap Media, Ltd - All Rights Reserved)

The clump of hair was found to be that of a human male who had brown eyes, thick brown hair, dry earwax and shovel-shaped incisors.   The prehistoric human male's hair also revealed that he was prone to early baldness which was published in an analysis in Nature in February of 2010.

Willerslevg said that "hair is the best material for genomics".  Why?  Because it contains less DNA than other sources, but it is not porous or easily contaminated.

Willerslevg's sequencing yielded about 80 percent of the genome.  Most significantly, analysis of the hair revealed that its owner was closely related to the Chukchi people, who live at the Eastern tip of Siberia today, suggesting that his ancestors traveled to the New World independent of the migrations which gave rise to Navie American and Inuit people.

Willerslevg said that this "was a previously unknown migration."

Scientists are excited about the secrets revealed in a clump of hair which was buried for 4,000 years and how it was able to shown a previously unknown migration pattern.

It allows scientists to start piecing together lots of human history.   According to Discover Magazine Willerslevg and his team are looking at the hair of ancient mummies in America.

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