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Scientists Use Lice Nits to Find More About Ancient Mummies and Their Lifestyle

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Image Credit: Gilles San Martin/ Wikimedia Commons Scientists have recovered human DNA from the 'cement' that head lice use to bind their eggs to hairs potentially opening up a new window into the past. In a recently published study, DNA was extracted for the first time from cement on hairs obtained from mummified corpses dating back 1,500-2,000 years. As female lice attach eggs, known as nits, to the hair, skin cells from the scalp also get enclosed in the cement made by female lice, saving them from decay for a considerable period. The University of Reading led the study, which also included other researchers from Argentina, Wales and Denmark. The findings of the study were published in  Molecular Biology and Evolution . A mummified adult man of the Ansilta culture, from the Andes of San Juan, Argentina, dating back approx 2,000 years. Credit: Universidad Nacional de San Juan Ancient DNA has been retrieved mostly from thick bone from the skull or from within teeth, as these

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