Decoded the DNA of the most ancient in the land of the mummies

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Расшифрованы ДНК самых древних на Земле мумий

Geneticists from the National Museum of natural history, Chile has been able to decode DNA and to scan some of the most ancient on our planet, the mummies, which were made by the chinchorro Indians.

According to Veronica Silva, an employee of the Museum, the first mummy, which is studied by scientists, does not contain bones. Quite possibly, it was just a dummy, a doll that portrayed the man who failed to turn into a mummy for some unknown reasons. By examining all these bodies, scientists seek to understand who were the Indians chinchorro, what way of life were, what he ate and whether they are the ancestors of modern Chileans.

According to scientists, the chinchorro culture was formed about 10 thousand years ago the territory of modern Chile and Peru. Dwelt among the people in small settlements, led a fairly simple life and eating seafood. This ancient nation was the first among all the South American Indian tribes who managed to master the technique of mummification. Currently, the researchers are convinced that chinchorro has got knowledge about mummification due to climatic changes, make the Atacama desert a more habitable for about 7 thousand years ago. It was then and there a tradition of mummification.

In the process of making mummies the internal organs, skin and brain were removed from the body of the deceased, after which the body was daubed with clay, which were attached previously removed the skin. Scientists currently can’t explain why the Indians needed to turn the dead into mummies because in their culture there were no funeral rites, and the cult of life after death did not exist.

Studying the structure of the mummy inside and appearance of the people whose remains have survived until today, and after analysis of the structure of DNA and made with the help of computer tomography images of bones and skulls, Veronica Silva together with colleagues tried to lift the veil of secrecy.

For research from the vaults of the Museum was taken 15 mummies and babies, each of which is virtual, scanning, cut into thousands of layers, the thickness of each of which was only one millimeter. According to scientists, all these layers will subsequently be connected by computer.

Results data on DNA analysis and reconstruction, which scientists expect to in the near future, will help to understand why the chinchorro Indians turned their dead relatives in the mummy, and who are their modern «heirs».

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