What is being called the, “Worlds oldest forensic case”, was recently closed, after the remains found under a parking lot in Leicester, England, were confirmed through DNA analysis, to be that of King Richard III’s.
An international team of researchers, directed by Dr. Turi King, from the University of Leicester Department of Genetics, positively identified the remains, by first collecting DNA samples from the remaining living relatives of the King’s bloodline as well as from the unidentified bones. It was noted, that the process of extracting the DNA samples from the deceased was an incredibly difficult task, due to the age of the remains and the possibilities of contamination.
The location in Leicester, England, that is currently a parking lot, was surveyed and investigated two years ago, after researchers followed clues that implied the area was once a home to a monastery, which held the final resting place of King Richard III. It was not until September, that the archaeologists had uncovered the unidentified remains in the choir section of the monastery.
The Skeleton that was found beneath the parking, lot amidst the ruins of the monastery, exhibited many physical characteristics and abnormalities that were associated with the King; i.e scoliosis and injuries sustained both in battle and the head wound that ended his life. Although, evidence suggested that the remains were that of King Richard III, the theory was not confirmed until the DNA analysis yielded positive results.
On December 2, it was first announced through the journal Nature Communications, that the DNA results provided conclusive evidence, proving that the mystery remains discovered beneath the parking lot were of King Richard III.
Mitochondria DNA was extracted from the skeleton of the suspected King and also from known living descendants. After the mitochondria DNA from the living sources was compared to one another as well as the skeleton, it was discovered to match almost exactly to the remains, proving that the man in the grave was King Richard III.
Another fascinating discovery that was made through the DNA analysis, revealed that some of the descendents of King Richard III, are not actually a blood relatives. When the researchers studied King Richard III’s Y-chromosome, the chromosome that is passed down from father to son, it was noticed that 5 remaining male descendants did not share the same Y-chromosome. This discovery means that at some point in time a woman who was married into the blood line of Richard III, had given birth to at least one child that was not fathered by her husband, who would have passed the Y chromosome to all of his children.