Why the Vikings Weren’t What We Imagined

A specimen of viking holds an ax

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The Vikings’ Genes Reveal That They Didn’t Look Like the More Common Images We Have in Popular Culture

Popular culture often depicts the Vikings as fierce, blond-haired, blue-eyed warriors who sailed across the sea plundering coastal populations. But new scientific studies have debunked this myth.

An international group of evolutionary geneticists managed to analyze the genetic ancestry of these famous Germanic warriors and came to surprising conclusions about their ethnic diversity.

“It all started when we were able to sequence the first ancient human genome,” according to the Danish evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev, a professor at the University of Cambridge, UK, and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, to the BBC.

“This has provided us with an enormous amount of information from individuals that we can use to deduce a human’s past,” he said.

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