ScienceDaily (May 27, 2008) — Although “Viking” literally means “pirate,” recent research has indicated that the Vikings were also traders to the fishmongers of Europe. Stereotypically, these Norsemen are usually pictured wearing a horned helmet but in a new study, Jørgen Dissing and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, investigated what went under the helmet; the scientists were able to extract authentic DNA from ancient Viking skeletons, avoiding many of the problems of contamination faced by past researchers.
Analysis of the Viking DNA showed no evidence of contamination with extraneous DNA, and typing of the endogenous DNA gave reproducible results and showed that these individuals were just as diverse as contemporary humans.
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