This Week In History, April 1 – 7

Published April 6, 2018

Some West Africans' DNA linked to unknown "ghost species" ancestor, evidence of medieval coffin birth uncovered, painting worth millions found after decades in a closet.

Some West Africans Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor

Yoruba Men

Wikimedia CommonsYoruba men playing instruments.

Way before homo sapiens were the only human species walking the earth, other protohuman species existed. While several studies have found the DNA of ancient populations in modern humans, primarily Neanderthals and Denisovans, we lack findings of DNA from African-dwelling ancient hominids in modern humans. That’s because we haven’t been able to access archaic genomes of African populations.

But research published on bioRxiv from the University of California in Los Angeles, which is awaiting peer review, has new interesting findings on the subect.

According to their findings, there is DNA from an unknown species of ancient hominin in about eight percent of the genetic ancestry from the West African Yoruba population.

Read more here.

Rare Case Of Coffin Birth Found In Medieval Gravesite

Coffin Birth News

SmithsonianThe woman’s body was found with tiny infant bones between her legs.

In 2010, Archeologists excavating a grave site in the small medieval town of Imola, Italy, made a grisly discovery — a woman who seemed to have given birth post-mortem. In a recently published paper, the archaeologists broke down their findings and explained the rarity of what they had uncovered.

At first, nothing about the woman in the coffin seemed unusual. She was between 25 and 35 years old and had been buried face-up, suggesting deliberate burial. However, upon closer inspection, scientists noticed something peculiar. Cradled within the skeletal pelvis, there was a small cluster of tiny bones from a fetus that was about 38 weeks of age.

Dig deeper in this report.

Painting Stored In Closet For Decades Turns Out To Be Worth Millions

Apollo Venus Painting

Hoyt Sherman Place/Duane Tinkey/DSM MagazineThe closet the painting was found in and the painting.

A forgotten painting stuffed in the closet of an Iowa art gallery is actually over 400 years old and likely worth millions of dollars.

In 2016, Robert Warren, the executive director of the Hoyt Sherman Place art complex in Des Moines, was poking around the closet of his art gallery when he came across an oil painting of nude mythological figures tucked in a corner between a table and the wall.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.