DNA proves Stone Age humans enjoyed Duck Dinners

This is the face of a woman who lived 6,000 years ago in Scandinavia.

Thanks to the tooth marks she left in ancient 'chewing gum', scientists were able to obtain DNA, which they used to decipher her genetic code. It seems likely that she had dark skin, dark brown hair and blue eyes.

Dr Hannes Schroeder from the University of Copenhagen said the 'chewing gum' - actually tar from a tree - is a very valuable source of ancient DNA, especially for time periods where we have no human remains.

'It is amazing to have gotten a complete ancient human genome from anything other than bone,' he said.

The woman is nicknamed 'Lola', after the site at Syltholm on Lolland, an island of Denmark in the Baltic Sea. As well as the physical characteristics of Lola, the DNA signatures of hazelnut and Mallard Duck were identified, showing that these were part of her diet at the time.

'It is the biggest Stone Age site in Denmark and the archaeological finds suggest that the people who occupied the site were heavily exploiting wild resources well into the Neolithic, which is the period when farming and domesticated animals were first introduced into southern Scandinavia,' said Theis Jensen from the University of Copenhagen.

Image copyright TOM BJÖRKLUND
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