Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Sweeping DNA Survey Highlights Vikings’ Surprising Genetic Diversity
Vikings' maritime expeditions brought them out of Scandinavia and into Northern Europe, where they intermingled with local populations. (Pmxfuel)
The term “Viking” tends to conjure up images of fierce, blonde men who donned horned helmets and sailed the seas in longboats, earning a fearsome reputation through their violent conquests and plunder.
But a new study published in the journal Nature suggests the people known as Vikings didn’t exactly fit these modern stereotypes. Instead, a survey deemed the “world’s largest-ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons” reinforces what historians and archaeologists have long speculated: that Vikings’ expansion to lands outside of their native Scandinavia diversified their genetic backgrounds, creating a community not necessarily unified by shared DNA.
As Erin Blakemore reports for National Geographic, an international team of researchers drew on remains unearthed at more than 80 sites across northern Europe, Italy and Greenland to map the genomes of 442 humans buried between roughly 2400 B.C. and 1600 A.D.