Teeth Give Clues


Science took archaeology to new heights with chemical analysis of teeth of members of Christopher Columbus' crew to establish the earliest visitors to the New World. Human remains from the island of Hispaniola where Columbus established a colony after his second voyage to America in 1493-94 were excavated two decades ago. The analyses of teeth samples showed the first visitors had profiles that indicated old world origin. For example, the diet appeared to be of heavy grasses like millets or maize, consumed either in America or Africa, not Europe. This suggested Africans might have travelled to the New World much before there are records of them brought over as slaves. The study was published in the March 20 issue of Science.


Down To Earth, May 2009