The Christian Science Monitor

Etched in DNA: Decoding the secrets of the past

Human origins research. The phrase probably evokes an image of dusty scientists hunched over in the sun, combing the ground for scraps left behind by people of millennia past. The field has long been the realm of stones and bones, with test tube-filled laboratories playing second fiddle. 

But that’s changing. Paleoanthropology has found a second home in the lab, as geneticists have joined the field, extracting DNA from fossils in search of new insights into early human history.

“It’s white coat science,” says John Shea, a professor of archaeology at Stony Brook

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