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Mesolithic Grave in Italy Held Remains of Female Infant

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Italy Infant BurialDENVER, COLORADO—According to a Gizmodo report, paleoanthropologist Jamie Hodgkins of the University of Colorado, Denver, and her colleagues have analyzed the remains of an infant discovered in a cave in northwestern Italy in 2017. The study included radiocarbon dating of the bones, DNA and protein analysis, and microscopic examination of the teeth. The tests revealed that the baby, who has been nicknamed Neve, was a girl who died some 10,000 years ago at about two months of age. Her grave itself was covered with dozens of pierced shell beads and pendants, in addition to an eagle owl talon. “Protein and DNA analyses are allowing us to better understand the diversity of human personhood and status in the past,” Hodgkins said. “Without DNA analysis, this highly decorated infant burial could possibly have been assumed male.” To read about the remains of the earliest known identical twins, go to "A Twin Burial."

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