What the DNA of Ancient Humans Reveals About Pandemics

After Hunt’s unusual flight home, Shanidar Z made it safely to the University of Cambridge for digital scanning and will eventually be transferred back to northern Iraq to feature as the centerpiece of a new museum. The skeleton could be up to 90,000 years old, but its DNA will be used to further understanding of modern human history—by analyzing and statistically comparing the ancient DNA against the genomes of modern populations, “to demonstrate when different population groups parted company,” Hunt says.

Once a population splits into two or more reproductively isolated groups, the genes in each new population will evolve gradually in new directions as a result of random gene

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