Nature quoted Richard Jantz, professor emeritus of anthropology, in a story about the return of North America’s oldest mummy to a US tribe after genome sequencing. DNA has proven the Native American roots of the 10,600-year-old skeleton known as the Spirit Cave Mummy. It also has settled a long legal dispute over who should own the mummy and given scientists insight into early inhabitants of the Americas.
Jantz noted that the mummy’s skull was shaped differently from those of contemporary Native Americans from the region, which contributed to the US government’s Bureau of Land Management’s decision to seek DNA analysis.
Jantz, who co-led the Spirit Cave skull study, lamented the decision to return the skeleton. “It’s just a sad day for science. We will lose a lot of information about the history of human occupation in the Americas as a consequence,” he said. Read the story online.