Education | Environment

Wired: Scientists fight university to study ancestral remains

"Two ancient skeletons uncovered in 1976 on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, during construction at the home of a University of California chancellor, may be among the most valuable for genetic analysis in the continental United Sates. Dated between 9,000 and 9,600 years old, the exceptionally preserved bones could potentially produce the oldest complete human genome from the continent.

But only if scientists aren’t barred from studying them.

Attempts to unlock the skeletons’ genetic secrets are stalled in a dispute pitting UC scientists against their own administration. Five of the scientists wrote with alarm in a letter published May 20 in the journal Science that UC administrators aren’t allowing studies on the skeletons, which were discovered on property owned by UC San Diego in La Jolla, California.

Before samples can be extracted for genetic analysis, the scientists fear administrators will give the bones to politically powerful local Native Americans who could permanently block study."

Get the Story:
Scientists Fight University of California to Study Rare Ancient Skeletons (Wired Science 5/20)

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