2,000-yo skeleton discovered off Antikythera

2000skeleton

Part of the 2000-year-old skeleton retrieved by archaeologists off the island of Antikythera. Photo: technology.inquirer.net

Scientists say the discovery is rare, the skeleton found to be very well preserved

Archaeologists have made the rare discovery of a 2,000-year-old human skeleton at a shipwreck off the island of Antikythera.

The skeleton could become the first of its kind to yield DNA, reports the ABC, given that skeletons rarely survive over such a long period, often being swept away or eaten by fish.

The preserved bones, which include a partial skull, two arm bones, several ribs and two femurs, could help scientists in their quest to reveal more about the shipwreck and those aboard at the time.

Ancient DNA analysis expert from Denmark Museum of Natural History, Hannes Schroeder says so far the remains are believed to come from a young man.

But what could be the ultimate key to all answers is the recovery of the petrous bones found behind the ear, which he says best preserve DNA in comparison to other parts of the body.

“If there’s any DNA, then from what we know, it’ll be there,” Dr Schroeder said.

If a DNA test is approved by the Greek Government, everything from the individual’s hair and eye colour, ancestry and geographic origin, could be found out.

The Antikythera shipwreck is believed to be the first ever to be investigated by archaeologists, after being discovered by sponge divers in 1900 submerged under 50 metres of water.

In 1901 the Antikythera Mechanism was found amidst the shipwreck, said to be the world’s oldest computer dating back to the 2nd-century BC.

source:neos kosmos

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