(ORDO NEWS) — Biologists from the University of Copenhagen, using DNA analysis, found out that the ancient Greenlanders hunted pygmy deer and giant gray whales.
The scientists used analysis of DNA collected from 12 locations across Greenland, spanning Paleo-Inuit, Norse and Neo-Inuit cultures.
They identified 42 animal species hunted by the ancient Greenlanders, including nine fish species and five whale species, of which the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) was the most commonly found.
In addition, scientists have found evidence of hunting for pygmy reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), which lived in Greenland three thousand years ago.
The success and failure of the settlement of the North were closely related to the ability of people to use the full range of resources available to them. There is strong evidence of bird, deer and seal hunting in prehistoric Greenland.
But much material evidence has been lost. For example, the role of whaling is difficult to determine, since the remains of the carcasses have disappeared almost without a trace.
Whalebone fragments are found here and there, but they rarely make it possible to identify a specific species.
The same is true for fish bones as they decompose easily. Analyzing ancient preserved DNA has provided scientists with an incredible way to study the lives of past communities.
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