Revealing Stone Age Secrets: DNA Extracted from 10,000-Year-Old 'Chewing Gum
Researchers have discovered DNA in 10,000-year-old birch bark pitch "chewing gum" used by Stone Age youths in Sweden, offering insights into the era's diet and dental health.
Found alongside bones at the nearly 10,000-year-old Huseby Klev site near Gothenburg, this gum, marked by teeth imprints, suggests hunter-gatherers used it as an adhesive for tools and possibly for medicinal purposes, according to Anders Gotherstrom, part of the study's team.
Analyzing the DNA, scientists from Stockholm University concluded the adolescents' diet consisted of deer, trout, hazelnuts, and traces of apple, duck, and fox. This study builds on past research that had mapped individuals' genetic profiles from the same gum.
Remarkably, the team uncovered evidence of severe periodontitis in a girl's sample, indicating she may have been close to losing her teeth. Gotherstrom highlights the direct link to the past this gum provides, bridging artifacts, DNA, and the people who once used them.