Feature

Written in bone

Genetic data from ancient Europeans are rewriting the prehistory of the continent

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2:30pm, May 2, 2014

KEEPING CLEAN  When studying ancient specimens, researchers work in ultraclean rooms to avoid contaminating samples with DNA from modern people or the environment.

Carles Lalueza-Fox nearly missed an opportunity to paint the genetic portrait of a 7,000-year-old Spaniard.

In 2006, spelunkers stumbled across the ancient remains of two men in a cave in Spain’s Cantabrian mountain range. Lalueza-Fox, an evolutionary geneticist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, got a call inviting him to examine the skeletons’ DNA.

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