A nearly 6,000-year-old piece of what was something like chewing gum was found and was able to produce some very telling DNA. The chewing gum was actually a piece of birch bark but was being chewed on with the same purpose as gum.
The gum is from where present-day Denmark is now and is approximately 5,700 years old. No remains were found of the girl who was alive during the stone age but her birch bark was found and analyzed. The results are truly fascinating!
The entire genome was identified and the chewer of the birch bark was a female child. She had black hair, blue eyes, and dark skin. Amazingly enough, scientists were also able to determine what the girl ate last. She had a meal of duck and hazelnuts.
Artist interpretation of young girl Via Tom Bjorkland
The results of this chewing birch bark analysis were published in the British journal Nature Communications. The study was peer-reviewed and conducted after the gum was discovered during an excavation dig. The dig was being done before a construction project was about to begin.
Lead author Hannes Schroeder is an archaeologist and was just as surprised with the detailed results of the analysis saying, "It is amazing to have gotten a complete ancient human genome from anything other than bone
Researchers were also able to determine that she was most likely closely related to hunter-gatherers from Western Europe as opposed to hunter-gathers from Scandinavia where the gum was found.
The gum was found after the girl must have to spit it out after getting tired of the birch bark. Birch bark is exactly how it sounds. it is the bark that has grown on a birch tree. The birch "gum" is made by heating birch bark when it is then known as birch pitch.
Birch pitch has been used as an adhesive since the Middle Pleistocene Era, and apparently you can chew on it. This discovery is amazing and shows how far science has come. It's incredible that we can determine the age and look of the girl who chewed on this birch.
Since the girl wasn't from the area it was found, we're assuming she was passing through with her family. They gave her some birch pitch to tide her over until dinner, she got sick of it, and spit it out on the ground We'll give her a pass since there were no trash cans back then.