Sunday, August 7

What Mummy Lice Reveal About South American Populations 2,000 Years Ago

  • Daniel Gonzalez Cappa
  • BBC News World


image source, National University of San Juan


One of the 2,000-year-old mummies found in San Juan, Argentina.

In an iconic scene from Jurassic Park“by Steven Spielberg, millionaire philanthropist John Hammond and an entourage of scientists find a mosquito fossilized in amber. the find it serves to extract the DNA of dinosaurs preserved intact for more than 65 million years.

Of course that’s a science fiction movie. “In fact, you can’t extract DNA preserved in amber,” says Maria Alejandra Perotti, professor of invertebrate biology at the University of Reading, England.

But that doesn’t mean the technique itself isn’t feasible. This is precisely what Perotti has achieved, who like Hammond was able to extract DNA, but not with dinosaurs and mosquitoes, but with ancient humans and lice.

Perotti, an Argentine who has been working in England for almost 20 years, studies the scientific and historical importance between invertebrates (more specifically lice) and humans to answer one of the questions we have all asked ourselves: where do we come from?

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