Jun 26, 2019 | Updated: 09:24 AM EDT

Scientists Found Early Human DNA from 10,000-Year-Old Ancient Chewing Gum

May 20, 2019 05:51 PM EDT

The studied material (ancient chewing gum) and its origin.
(Photo : Natalija Kashuba, Emrah Kırdök, Hege Damlien, Mikael A. Manninen, Bengt Nordqvist, Per Persson & Anders Götherström )
The studied material (ancient chewing gum) and its origin.

Present day Huseby-Kiev in the western part of Sweden was occupied by people who made their living by hunting and fishing 10,000 years ago. During that time it was covered by ice sheets that are 4 km in thickness. There are still so much to discover about how this ancestors of the occupants of present-day Sweden were able to make their way to the said locale.

A group of archaeologists was able to find a few little lumps of birch bark pitch that are chewed up. After checking, they found some fingerprints on a few pieces and tooth marks that were left behind even after millennia have passed.

Natalija Kashuba, an archaeologist from Uppsala University recently recovered DNA from two women and one man from the ancient chewing gum. The owners of the DNA were said to have lived, worked and chewed on gum on the shores of ancient Sweden. The scientist points out that this finding is a big clue about how people migrated into Scandinavia after the Ice Age as they can interlink the DNA from ancient people to their artifacts.

The birch tree is one of the many trees that can produce saps and resins that has a wide array of uses. The birch branch which can be used as chewing gum, for cracked pottery or bone points on blades, as the Huseby-Kiev ancestors have.

The scientists theorized that the people converged on Scandinavia from two directions as the ice receded. The theory was guided by the tools and other hints left behind by these prehistoric humans. The scientists explained that one group migrated towards the north part from Western Europe as the other group migrated to the south from the plains of modern-day Russia. The archaeologists have managed to tell their sites apart and trace their migration path as these two groups of people had their own unique methods in creating their tools.

Citing an example, the scientists pointed out that the group of people that came from Russia provided technology called pressure flaking. This involves using a pointed bone or stick to break up small flakes from the edge of the stone which would then create a very sharp blade.

Over time, intermarriage between the two populations of hunters and gatherers created a new population.
The oldest human DNA ever recorded from Scandinavia was recovered from the ancient chewing gum at Huseby-Kiev.

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