Thursday, 22 March 2012

Viking Invaders Brought Armies of Mice

Vikings who conquered new lands unwittingly brought with them another sort of invader, a new DNA study says—mice.

Scientists studying the evolution of house mice already knew about a DNA pattern found only in mice in what's now Norway, a Viking homeland, and northern Britain, which Vikings colonized, said study leader Eleanor Jones, a population biologist at Uppsala University in Sweden.

The finding suggested to Jones and her team that the two populations, despite being separated by the sea, were related and that Vikings had possibly brought the mice to northern Britain.

The new study tested modern and ancient mouse remains from the sites of known Viking colonies and found the same telltale pattern, adding weight to the idea that the mice were brought by Viking colonizers.