A team of intrepid scientists has successfully concluded a DNA analysis of human hair found preserved in Greenland’s permafrost.
The analysis – which was published in Nature – discovered that the 4,000 year-old man nicknamed “Inuk” (or human in Greenlandic) had brown eyes, thick dark hair and was prone to baldness.
Study of the salvaged genome also indicated that “Inuk’s” ancestors had migrated from chilly Siberia.
“We wanted to acknowledge that he was from Greenland, even though he is not a direct ancestor of modern Greenlanders,” Professor Eske Willerslev from the University of Copenhagen explained in a statement obtained by the BBC.
“It’s a very hostile environment and I was really surprised that people could live up there.”
According to Willerslev, Inku – who was from the Saqqaq culture – had a metabolism and body mass adapted to living in a cold climate.
Inuk also possessed shovel-shaped front teeth, along with dry earwax that would have made him more vulnerable to ear infections.
Unsurprisingly, the ancient appears to have died young, as he was found with tufts of thick head hair – despite being prone to baldness.
“What happened to the Saqqaq people and why they died out also remains a mystery,” said Willerslev.
“Was it climatic change, was it competition from other cultures coming in? We have no idea.”