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‘Chewing Gum’ Helps Researchers Study Ancient Microbial DNA

For the first time, researchers have been able to reconstruct a complete human genome without using physical remains. Instead, they used chewing gum — from the Stone Age. Gobs of birch pitch (tar) have been found around ancient toolmaking sites, imprinted with human teeth marks. Archaeologists say the pitch was likely chewed to help soften it before use. Recently, a chewed birch pitch excavated at the site of Syltholm on the Danish island of Lolland, estimated to be 5,700 years old,...

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